By Fani Mapfumo
A Zimbabwean based in Malawi has lost a contract after a huge outcry from Malawian human rights groups over the issuance of a million dollar tender that was awarded to him in 2018.
The tender was awarded to Irrigwater and Mining Equipment owned by Brighton Chirairo of Zimbabwe to demolish a building that is owned by Electricity Supply Cooperation of Malawi (Escom) was canceled after some human rights groups in Malawi lodged a complaint against the tender process.
In 2018, Escom called for a tender to demolish Escom House in Blantyre which was defaced by fire in 2013 and many companies both from Malawi and outside applied and the tender was finally awarded to Irrigwater and Mining equipment for K675 million an equivalent of $1 million United States dollars.
After the interviews, the company is believed to have scored 83.9 % which automatically meant they had won the tender. It is believed that the power company was convinced that they would demolish the building without affecting nearby businesses and they would be environment friendly in their operation which was meeting the company’s expectations.
However this did not go well with human rights groups in Malawi chief among them Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) which claimed the price for the demolition of the property was too much and a burden to tax payers.
The coalition even claimed that there was some underhand dealings.
“Why did Escom refuse to award the contract which just wanted K136million and opted for someone who is demanding K675 million, this is tax payer money, Malawians want value for their money, It is impossible to use all that money just for demolition of a building” said Gift Trapence vice chairperson of HRDC.
It is believed that Irrigwater and Mining Equipment was awarded the tender because it is a front runner for a top official in Malawi.
To make matters worse, the company subcontracted the tender to a South African company to do the demolition proving incapability to complete the job.
Announcing the cancelation of the tender ,Escom Chief Executive Officer Allexon Chiwaya said the cancellation has been done out of the public interest and noted the concerns that were being raised by engineers and ordinary Malawians.
He further said “…the concerns raised are being addressed and the general public shall be informed of any developments to that effect”
The Escom issue raised eyebrows and started a hot debate on Malawi’s social media platforms especially on the backdrop of corruption in the country until the company was forced to reverse the issue. ZimMorningPost