BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-Malawians have all reasons to be angry now with continuous and shameless electricity blackouts following revelation that utility body Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) messed up on procurement of new heavy-duty generators.

The generators were expected to add about 80 megawatts to the national grid when

The deal went sour when ESCOM board chairperson Dr. Perks Ligoya pushed for awarding of a US$74 million contract to a South African firm Aggreko contravening procurement procedures.

The Maravi Post understands that after the power provider’s Chief Executive Officer Evelyn Mwapasa noted mishandling of the deal she reported to the board chairperson, Dr. Ligoya of interfering with the procurement process.

Mwapasa who has a reputation of being a tough and incorruptible manager stopped the signing of the multimillion dollar contract with Aggreko after she became suspicious of the way procurement procedures were flouted.

It later transpired that Ligoya had met Aggreko officials “on more than three occasions in South Africa to cut his deal.

Mwapasa’s tough stance was strengthened by another observation which the office of the director of public procurement (ODPP) made on the same and advised government to cancel the deal in what was termed as “some decisions and actions in the procurement process were wrongly made.”

ESCOM’s Inside sources confided with us that Ligoya had a “sweetener” when he made a trip to South Africa to meet Aggreko officials.

“We have all the information regarding Ligoya’s connections to Aggreko and the deal he cut with the South African firm. Mwapasa was very angry upon hearing this and she immediately called the President to inform him about the rot in the generators deal.

“It is a very tricky situation because we now have massive blackouts and generators have not yet been bought. But Mwapasa has put her foot down, she told us in a management meeting that it’s better to have blackouts and save government’s billions than go ahead with a deal which will only enrich few individuals,” the source who spoke on condition of strict anonymity.

In another later in our possession dated August 7, 2017 which Mwapasa wrote to ODPP, she highlighted several anomalies on the deal which she asked the office of the directorate of procurement to clarify before she could proceed with the Aggreko deal.

“Speed is of the essence in this procurement because the emergency power being procured is required from October 2017 when the country’s hydropower plants are at their lowest production capacity due to lower water flows in the Shire River,” reads Mwasapa letter in part.

The heavy-duty generators were scheduled to start running from this month but no single generator has been procured as ODPP informed government to cancel the procurement, observing that the process were “wrongly made”.

Escom’s poor handling of the process has made companies to be forced to cut down on production, lives have been lost in hospitals while homes have been affected as well.

Nico Asset Managers in their July 2017 economic brief feared that continued power outages would limit investments and forecast the impact on economic growth which they had pegged at 4.5 percent this year.

Currently, Malawi’s installed electricity capacity is 282.5 MW compared to estimated demand of 344 MW, and only nine percent of the 16 million population has access to electricity with many relying on firewood and charcoal for energy.

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