By Nenenji Mlangeni
BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-One of the country’s civil society organisation Forum For National Development (FDN) has written Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to swiftly investigate on embattled businessman Abdul Karim Batatawala over the MK53.9 billion Immigration Department uniforms supply deal.
The grouping has therefore requested ACB to treat the matter with urgency and move swiftly to ensure that financial resources that belongs Malawians are protected
In a press statement dated March 11, signed by Bright Kampaundi and Fryson Chodzi FDN Chairperson and National Coordinator respectively and made available to The Maravi Post, the grouping wants ACB to work closely with Office of Director Public Procurement (ODPP) and the Attorney General.
FND has therefore asked with ODPP and Attorney General to suspend all contracts Malawi government has with embattled businessman Abdul Karim Batatawala over the MK53.9 billion Immigration Department uniforms supply deal.
Below is FND full statement;
REPORT OF POSSIBLE CORRUPTION BY MR. ABDUL KARIM BATATAWALA WITH THE AIM OF DEFRAUDING GOVERNMENT
We write to report to your office for a seemingly fraud, corruption and plunder of public resources by Reliance Trading Company, and African Commercial Agency firms which are owned by Mr. Abdul Karim Batatawala which have been happening and no plausible investigations have since taken place.
We have been observing on issues that emanated from the infamous MK53.9bn claim by Mr. Batatawala on the Immigration Uniform saga to the realization that the said business individual reportedly aimed to defraud the government on a contracts that was signed in 2012 worthy MK10, 244, 343,380.00 only to be delivered in 2017 and invoiced the government MK53,982,642,827.47.
In reference to this see the attached ministerial Memo (Annex 1) between The Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, and The Director General of Immigration and Citizen Services date 17th July 2018 which we came across.
Besides the Immigration Uniform Scandal, the just recently leaked ESCOM report also picks Mr. Batatawala on the center of controversy on the supply of the meter boxes which were disqualified for not meeting the specifications yet were still supplied. ( see the attached annexes)
The Director Sir, we feel duty bound to ask your office to commence investigations into the dealings of these companies and other companies that may be related to the Mr. Batatawala because the two incidences may be a tip of an ice in other deals that were not spotted.
We believe that the irregularities by these companies which belong to Mr. Batatawala may be a sign of hoodwinking, fraud and corruption which we are reporting to your office for possible classic action to ensure that justice takes its course.
We have specifically isolated Mr. Batatawala for the prominence his companies have had in matters that feature high on transactions that have been red flagged for their potentiality in defrauding the government.
While we take note of these two companies, we as well request your office to corroborate with the office of the ODPP and the Attorney General to suspend all contracts the government has with this individual pending for the outcome of the investigations being requested to be undertaken.
We believe that this matter will be treated with urgency and move swiftly to ensure that financial resources that belongs Malawians are protected.
Bright Kampaundi Fryson Chodzi
Chairperson National Coordinator
CC: The Director ODPP
However, Batatawala in February this year obtained High Court injunction prohibiting the country’s leading newspaper, The Nation from publishing details surrounding the MK53.9 billion Immigration Department uniforms supply deal.
Malawi government challenged the MK53 billion claim by Karim’s companies Africa Commercial Agency and Reliance Trading Company, which, among other things, pegs a single uniform shirt for an Immigration officer at about MK60 000 and in some cases a belt at MK100 000.
This comes despite some of the country’s civil society organisations and political leaders calling for intensive investigations on how the suppliers arrived at the MK53.9 billion claim from an initial MK9 billion contract.
The Nation newspaper has been running a series of publications depicting him as a “corrupt and fraudulent.”