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Roads Authority suspends Trevor Hiwa

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The Roads Authority (RA) Board has suspended its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Trevor Hiwa, following a misprocurement in which he awarded a $303,823 (about K217 million based on the exchange rate then) World Bank project to his own firm called Infrastructure Consultants (Infracon).

The board met on Wednesday in Lilongwe where the decision was made. The decision follows legal advice from the Attorney General, Kalekeni Kaphale, and findings of a team of investigators whose September 29 2016 report finds Hiwa guilty and recommends disciplinary action against him.

Kaphale refused to disclose the kind of advice he gave to the RA board.

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“In most cases of that nature I advise boards to give their employees a hearing in a disciplinary hearing and then make a decision that is merited by the findings of fact and the law,” he said.

RA Board Chairperson, Jackson Gomani, was non committal. On Wednesday he said he would respond upon arrival in Blantyre. He was traveling from the meeting in Lilongwe. When called yesterday, he kept saying he would call back.

But a member of the investigating team which recently recommended that a disciplinary action be taken against Hiwa confirmed the suspension.

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Another source also corroborated the suspension and added that Hiwa will be called for hearing and the board will make a final decision.

The Times Group has been investigating Hiwa since June 2016 when its Malawi News edition of June 4, 2016 first exposed Hiwa’s misprocurement.

Hiwa hit back at the article demanding an apology through his lawyers and threatened to drag the paper to court. But the paper challenged him and he did not pursue his intention. Several articles appeared in between and one of them was where he reported to Minister of Transport and Public Works informing him of a senior officer, former director of procurement, Dan Kamoto, who he believed was the source of our stories. But he was not.

In another article, we reported that his sole decision to end contract of a senior officer, Benjamin Kapoteza, cost the company K17 million as the board was not consulted.

Secretary to Treasury, Ronald Mangani, said the Ministry of Finance did preliminary investigations which found that Hiwa was in the wrong.

The board formed a team of investigators to probe further. The team comprised Chief Director responsible for Good Governance in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Wezi Kayira as Chairperson; Chief State Advocate in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Richard Santhe; Director of Human Resources Management and Development, Hilario Chimota and Deputy Director in the Office of the Director of Public Procurement, Edward Jeke.

The Team also found wrong doing in the award of the contract.

“The Team further established that Hiwa as the controlling officer was fully aware and involved in the processes leading to the award of the contract to Infracon Limited contrary to (a) World Bank’s Procurement framework in the PAD (Procurement Appraisal Document) and other associated guidelines; (b) Public Procurement Act, 2003; (c) RA’s Conditions of Service; (d) the employment contract and (e) the RA Code of Conduct and Ethics,” reads the document in part.

The report adds: “He [Hiwa] may, therefore, be liable to disciplinary action in line with RA’s Conditions of Service and his employment contract.”

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