…K700 billion solar thermal power plant
…PS Chikuni copies SPC Zamba
Chief Obinna G.C Amuchienwa, the man who almost got a fuel contract propelled by the Secretary to the President and Cabinet Colleen Zamba is set to sign K1 trillion worth of contracts for a solar thermal power plant and fuel, The Investigator Magazine can reveal.
Amuchienwa, a mysterious figure who seems to be connected to Zamba and Malawi Government has summoned not one, but up to eight public officials to Utah in the United States of America to do “due diligence” at taxpayer’s cost. The Investigator Magazine can reveal that two Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) have already been signed by Secretary for Energy Alfonso Chikuni.
The Investigator Magazine has seen Whatsapp messages, letters, and emails between the man former Chief Executive Officer of the National Oil Company Hellen Buluma had submitted to a told a parliamentary inquiry, and a man Zamba called “Chief” instructed that he should be awarded 80,000 mt tons of fuel in November 2022. They reveal that the same man is back.
In one of the letters, the Chiefs associate confirm that Chikuni has already approved his expression of interest to develop a 300mw solar thermal power plant.
Coming to America with MOU’s.
Secretary for Energy Alfonso Chikuni is expected to lead a delegation of which comprises of two officials from the Ministry of Energy, two from the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA), two from the National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA), and two from the Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (ESCOM).
Surprisingly, the trip which is listed as a visit to an energy plant has left out Electricity Generating Company (EGENCO) whose Chief Executive Officer William Liabunya could not say why he was not on the final list, opting to ask The Investigator Magazine to see if EGENCO was part of the delegation.
Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola said he was aware of the trip but refused to shed more light, referring The Investigator to Chikuni, who alongside all those named in the emails we have opted not to respond to our questions.
The Investigator Magazine trailing of the emails show that Mario Hernandez from an official Red Barn Farms (Academy) email originated the invitations to Malawi Government officials on 29th of May 2023 at 10.05 pm UTA.
Interestingly, he is listed as an administrative assistant to the charity and nothing on his social media profiles links him to power-generating companies the officials are expected to visit.
The email was forwarded to a Gmail address of Earl Kemp, who uses the funny name Efirstname.lastname@example.org (we have omitted other letters), and Chief’s two emails of email@example.com (email already in public) raising questions as to why such a formal communication would use gmail addresses as the group has official email addresses.
The “Chief” received and forwarded the gmail letters to his official address before forwarding them to Chikuni on 30th May. He included Chikuni’s private phone number in the email.
Chief wrote, “Dear P.S, please find attached invitation letters for the upcoming visit to our Westland Consortium facilities in Utah by your government select delegation. There are to arrive in Utah on the 26th of June and depart on the 3rd of July. All necessary arrangements are being made and we look forward to receiving them in the United States.”
Chikuni whose invitation letter includes his passport number, at 12.10 pm forwarded the emails to Henry Kachaje (MERA), Kamkwamba Kumwenda (ESCOM), William Liabunya (EGENCO), and Clement Kanyama (NOCMA) but using an Escom email. Others whose invitations we have seen include Wiseman Kabwazi, Micklas Rueben (NOCMA), Joseph Kalowekamo, and Patrick Kadewa,
Ironically, Chikuni copied the same emails to Secretary to the President and Cabinet Colleen Zamba who is still using a statehouse email address, though the email simply read, “Colleagues find attached invitations for your use in obtaining visas.”
Chikuni has not responded to why he copied invitations to SPC Zamba, who does not appear on the delegation list. He also copied his Minister Matola who feigned ignorance when asked if he got the invites.
Insiders claim questions have been asked as to how Chikuni can sign the agreements without approvals from the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets (PPDA) and Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
Taxpayers to foot the K100 million tourism bill
Despite that “Chief” had initially indicated that they were to foot all expenses, the delegation was shocked on Monday the 19th of June when it was communicated that they will have to foot their own expenses, though the expectation is that the money will be refunded.
“We were told to prepare to buy air tickets and fund allowances. This is madness, we are struggling with finances,” said one of the finance officials whose boss is part of the Utah sightseeing tour.
The delegation which is to include NOCMA’s CEO Clement Kanyama and Director of Operations Micklas Reuben shows they are supposed to depart Lilongwe on Sunday 25th June on Ethiopian Airlines and arrive in Chigaco on the 26th.
“There is an Executive suite reserved for you at the JW Marriot in Utah, Salt Lake City. The rest 7 of your team is also reserved there. So pls work your tickets yo arrive on 26ths,” reads a Whatsapp message from “Chief” to Chikuni we have seen.
The cost of flights alone in business class bought last minute would be around K55 million for the delegation and an additional K50 million for allowances for the 8-team member blowing US$100,000 for a trip to visit facilities the “Chief” does not own.
The trip though classified as “due diligence” does not make sense as the two agreements allegedly have already been signed by the principal secretary.
The power plant that could cost K700bn was approved.
The letters show a Mr. Earl Kemp who issued them, referring to the fact that Malawi Government already approved a 300mw solar thermal power plant in Malawi, which would render the due diligence merely an academic and expensive venture.
“Reference in made to the Ministry of Energy letter ref: MOE/ADMINI/19 approving our Expression of Interest to establish a 300mw solar thermal plant,” reads the letter from Kemp, whose physical address incidentally is the same as Red Barn Farm (Academy) raising questions of the credibility of the Consortium allegedly working to establish the solar plant operating from a charity farm.
The 300mw Malawi plant would be among the largest of solar plants on the continent and would require massive tracts of land to take off.
“The costs everywhere would be around US$300 to 400 million. But in Malawi the cost is estimated between US$450 to US$600 million. Given in other costs you are looking at K700 billion project which would be very expensive,” said an energy expert who doubted the capacity of “Chief to raise such amounts.”
A 60mw solar power plant in Salima cost around K92 billion (US$91.6 million).
This means that combined with the fuel projects, the Chief would happily sing his profile to US$1 billion courtesy of President Lazarus Chakwera’s administration which is famed for distributing Sovereign Guarantees and deals to suspicious characters.
Chiefs’ website was, like the bogus Romanian East Bridge Estates updated to include the energy services which cannot be validated online. We are still investigating the companies in the USA.
NOCMA: the strange party to the USA
The inclusion of NOCMA’s top executives in the trip which is supposed to be a “due diligence” trip to Utah energy facilities raises eyebrows but confirms that SPC Zamba and Chikuni’s wish to give fuel contract to a company related to “Chief” is about to materialise.
The Investigator Magazine has reviewed the NOCMA’s Board August 2022 resolution to source 450,000mt of fuel but the agency only advertised on December 19, 2022, only 356,000 metric tons of fuel. These were split as 171,810 Mt for gasoil and 184,690 for motor gasoline.
“The difference is to be single-sourced from a company that looks like has Chief connections. Otherwise, why would NOCMA be on the delegation for a solar thermal power plant? NOCMA does not deal with electricity and EGENCO is being left out,” said our source who pointed out that the same quantities were the ones Zamba had pushed for a contract for “Chiefs” 700SA company.
According to text messages Buluma presented to Parliament, the Chief was to supply 40,000mt of AGO and 40,000mt of PMS. The “Chiefs” contract was pended after Buluma’s explosive appearance at parliament.
Zamba, with the help of Speaker of the National Assembly Catherine Hara Gotani, has been avoiding the inquiry on fuel. The Speaker has not yet issued subpoenas requested by the committee to force Zamba and Chikuni’s appearance despite being requested to do so months ago.
We asked every member of the delegation if, as public officers, it would be appropriate to travel and meet someone who is facing allegations of impropriety before parliament and approve a contract for the same.
The Investigator Magazine will publish the fuel deal in detail and how NOCMA is justifying a single source to a new company called G.E.T Global Ltd which has all the characteristics to be one Chiefs shell company.
“NOCMA being part of the trip confirms the link,” said another source familiar with the MOU’s Chikuni is supposed to present to “Chief.”
The Chief resurrects
Hellen Buluma’s submission to a parliamentary inquiry included a person only identified as “Chief” who she claimed Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) Colleen Zamba wanted his company 700SA Oil and Gas PTY be allocated 80,000mt (approximately 80 million litres) of fuel.
We have emailed and WhatsApp “Chief” whose email indicates he opened the mail, but he has opted not to respond.
Buluma, then acting CEO of the National Oil Company shocked Malawians that SPC Zamba and Secretary for Energy Alfonso Chikuni pushed for the irregular fuel contracts that the SPC, her associate Eva Kamwangala and Chief all contacted her over the deal.
The Chief, The Investigator Magazine has received his communications to Malawi Government officials, and he signs as Chief Obinna G.C Amuchienwa, a slight variation from what his company profile uses as Chief G.O.C Amuchienwa while his Gmail address shows that he uses Godfrey Obinna.
“The change in names closely resembles someone with multiple identities and despite proclaiming to have facilitated a big deal in Nigeria, the gentleman avoids photographs and is not captured anywhere save for his own website,” states The Investigator Magazines team leader that has been investigating the “Chief.”
The Investigator Magazine suspects the title “Chief” is self-proclaimed to razzle dazzle gullible government officials like those of Malawi. Others point out that he was deliberately avoiding identification on digital platforms despite posting a long CV about his exploits.
“Real investors do not hide. These ones again fall in the same pattern the Chakwera administration seems to be obsessed with. Public projects and finances need real faces that can pass due diligence. So far all contracts are being negotiated with “ghosts” which should raise alarm to any sensible public officer,” said a public services professor from one of the national universities.
His major accomplishment is listed as the founder Chairman and visionary of ACSG (Africa Consolidated Services Group), “He is an accomplished businessman and an advocate of Total Quality Management (TQM). Over the last 20 years of active business, he has been in various core sectors spanning Marine logistics services, shipping – Wet Cargo brokerage/operations, Crude Oil and Petroleum Products trading, Construction, Dredging, Financial and Investment advisory services, and Solid Minerals exploration/mining.”
However, the company which only started in 2018 and has a wide diversified portfolio and lists “Chief” as Chairman on the Board of ACSG Integrated Technical Concepts Limited, the latter being the sole distributor in Nigeria for Speed Limiter/tracking and antitheft devices manufactured by Summit Systems/Oner – China. Executive Chairman of ACSG Investment Partners who are independent consultants on Finance and Public Private Partnership FDI projects for the government of Abia State.
His education started from his kindergarten at Barfield Preparatory School (Surrey UK), and the Seaford College in Petworth – (Sussex UK), and further obtained a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Port Harcourt.
Part 2: Sunday- 25th June: G.E.T Global Ltd set to take fuel deal using single source procurement.
Part 3: OPC vs EGENCO and Jindol- the battle for Kammwamba Thermal Power plant
Our print Magazine is expected to be out by Independence Day 6th July 2023 with more analysis on President Lazarus Chakwera’s three years in power, the deals, and cartels that run Malawi.