Govt says no new contract with Sattar has been signed

Investigation which Malawi Voice carried few days ago to dig into what is happening on Sattar’s contracts which everyone knows were frozen has revealed that Government (MDF) has not signed any fresh contract with Sattar or any of his companies as alleged by social media.

Contrary to what was being reported at the time of this publication, it had also been established that the $4.9Million Dollars which MDF asked Government to release, had not been paid to IAG- the manufacturer of the procured Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) vehicles.

Briefing members of the Civil society under the banner of National Advocacy Platform, The Minister of Defence Hon. Mkandawire expressed disappointment at misinformation and disinformation being perpetrated through the reports and the documents circulating on social media.

Accompanied by the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Defence Erica Maganga and Chief of Legal Services for the Malawi Defence Force, Colonel Mitawa, the Minister reiterated the need for all Malawians to be patriotic and avoid sharing confidential information critical for the country’s security.

The Minister emphasised that the Chakwera led Government is committed to the fight against corruption and that is why he allowed to meet the members of the National Advocacy Platform on short notice.

When contacted, the Ministry confirmed meeting the CSO’s and stated that the facts were laid bare to the CSO’s.

Commenting on the meeting, PS for Defence Erica Maganga stated that ‘We cleared the misinformation and shared them all necessary documents which show that there is no new contract with Sattar, but that Government is fulfilling its obligations under the terminated Contract’.

Asked as to why Government would be paying for a Contract that was terminated, Maganga clarified that the Contracts were terminated under Section 46 of the PPDA Act which allows Government to terminate Contract based on public convenience.

However, the Sections stipulates that when a Contract is terminated for public convenience, the procuring entity is under an obligation to pay for any goods supplied, or goods produced or goods which were under production at the time of termination.

She continued that when the Contract was terminated, it was discovered that the APCS had already been produced as such, Government is under a legal obligation to pay.

“That is why we initiated the payments, ” says Maganga.

Commenting on the development, some renowned legal analysts stated that if it is indeed true that the Contract was terminated for public convenience under Section 46 of the PDDA Act, then Government has no option but to honour payment for the goods that had already been produced.

However, they cautioned Government to ensure that such payments are done in a transparent manner to avoid abuse and corruption.

Investigations by Malawi Voice have revealed that the 4.9Million Dollar payment being sought by MDF is 20% of what should have been paid upfront when the contract was signed with Malachite.

It has also been established that Malawi Government had not paid this upfront payment including undertaking a pre-shipment exercise due to finances and later the matters that are in court.

We have further learnt that it was further that the 20% requisitioned amount is not being paid to Sattar’s Malachite company but direct to the supplier thereby leaving Sattar out of the equation.

Briefing the Media after the interface with the Minister, Mr. Benedicto Kondowe and Charles Kajoloweka who were leaders of delegation for the CSO’s and the organiser of the interface meeting respectively advised the press that indeed they have been told that there is no new contract with Sattar and that the payments are for goods that were already produced.

However, they expressed dissatisfaction with the presentation by government due to several factors citing the non-involvement of ACB in the payment process and called upon ACB to investigate the matter.

Mr Kondowe then proceeded to lay out NAPS position which he stated that they remain stuck to their position for Reserve bank not to proceed with the payment until all matters surrounding the deal are cleared by government,

‘ Our position remains that Reserve bank must not proceed with honouring the payment until Government comes in the open with clear evidence that their dealings are in line with the law and in respect of the earlier order made by the Attorney general against dealing with Sattar,’ stated Kondowe.

On Gregory Gondwe and Mercy Matoga, Government and MDF assured the CSO’s that they should not worry anything about the two.

There is no order to intimidate or persecute Gondwe as we believe in Media freedom and the rule of law.

However, the confirmed that investigations are under way to identify individuals who leaked and published some restricted documents and once found, the law will take its course.

Government and MDF affirmed that they will not use force or intimidation to get the details and that at the time of the meeting there had been no order or instruction been made to summon the two.

Other leaders from the CSO’s who attended the meeting included Willy Kambwandira of CSO Accountability and Governance Platform, Robert Mkwezalamba of HRCC, Silvestor Namiwa of CEDED, Bonface Chibwana of CCJP and Buxton Nkhoma of Citizen Alliance.

When contacted to shed more light on the matter, Mkwezalamba referred our reporter to Benedicto Kondowe who could not pick our calls when we went to press.

Ironically, it transpired that the CSO’s had not shared the plain truth as collected from the Ministry which would have cleared the public and citizenry as regards the true facts of the matter.

It remains unclear as to why the CSO leaders deliberately kept some information from the media which is central to the public outcry but chose to only present their side of the story and not balance the outcomes of the meeting.

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