ACB Director General Martha Chizuma

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has given National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA) consent to award a contract to procure fuel using the ex-tank system.

This follows the completion of an investigation in respect of a suspected offence under the Corrupt Practices Act

The graft busting body suspended the controversy-riddled fuel supply contracts by National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) to pave the way for investigations into various alleged anomalies in the process.

But according to a statement released today, the investigation into the suspect offence under corrupt practices Act has been finalized and ACB has consequently given NOCMA permission to proceed with awarding of contracts of fuel under contract number NOCMA/ICB/FUEL/2020/2021.

The Bureau in a statement says the award of the contract under procurement number

NOCMA/ICB/FUEL/2020/2021 should follow the ex-tank method as per the existing High Court order.

The statement signed by ACB’s Director, Martha Chizuma, stresses that NOCMA should comply with the Notice or risk contravening Section 49A of the Corrupt Practices Act.

The ACB’s intervention came  against a background of a bitter fight between the boards of Malawi Energy Regulation Authority (Mera) and management of Nocma.

In the thick of the controversy, Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) asked the ACB to investigate allegations of corruption and abuse of office in the ongoing procurement of fuel supply contracts by Nocma.

Nocma is a State-owned company while Mera is a regulator of the energy industry.

In January this year, the Mera board declined to approve Nocma’s application to award contracts to suppliers it selected, citing concerns of overpricing.

Mera said the contracts were expensive and would cost the taxpayer K45 billion more due to the Delivered Duty Unpaid (DDU) procurement system used. The regulator also claimed that expensive suppliers such as Lake Oil for Northern Corridor and IPG on the Beira Corridor had allegedly quoted higher premiums than other bidders.

But Nocma argued that the DDU system—which mandates the seller to ensure that goods are safely delivered to destination and the buyer is responsible for import duties—reduces risks to the company.

Nocma further argued that Mera simply wanted its preferred suppliers to be selected and that it was acting under political influence.

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