Alfonso Chikuni, the controversial Secretary for Energy has been accused of lying to Parliament by stating suppliers were failing to supply materials for Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (MAREP 9).
Chikuni on Wednesday said the programme will delay as most suppliers had not supplied requisite materials for the programme and they are unlikely to do so by end of 25 January deadline.
The Investigator which revealed that contracts had been given to mainly Malawi Congress Party and UTM officials to supply the programme, some with no previous experience, has been told that Chikuni wants to use it as a pretext to cancel contracts.
A group of suppliers have blamed Chikuni for not telling the truth and also blamed the Reserve Bank of Malawi for being selective in approving Foreign Exchange provisions to the programme.
“Chikuni said he is consulting Ministry of Finance in September, he has not come back to us. In December before Christmas he called for a meeting but he did not have any information about when forex will be made available to us,” said one supplier.
Another supplier alleged that Chikuni is playing deliberately to find reasons to cancel the contracts and give it to his own suppliers.
“He wrote us about foreign exchange. He can’t say we are failing. If he thinks we are failing is because he has failed as Energy department to present a case for foreign exchange. I will not be suprised if he uses this to cancel and give it to his friends as he did at Water Ministry with Mangochi project and at Lilongwe Water Board,” fumed another Supplier.
Chikuni has also been named by former National Oil Company of Malawi Acting CEO Helen Buluma that alongside Secretary to the President and Cabinet Colleen Zamba to have tried to illegally insert new fuel suppliers.
Zamba and Chikuni, according to those familiar with the two indicate they are close friends.
The suppliers say the K12 billion paid to them is in banks and the Reserve Bank of Malawi and banks have been behaving funny in allocation of foreign exchange.
“Reserve Bank is approving other suppliers and leaving most small scale. In banks for them to push they are asking for a ‘top up’. The whole thing is a scam meant to fustrate Malawians and give it to some Malawians of different origin who have monopolised MAREP for years,” alleged another supplier who gave The Investigator copies of texts and letters from Chikuni and banks.
Chikuni when he assumed office fired the Head of MAREP and the entire procurement committee replacing it with his cronies to control procurement, alleged Enegry Department officials.
Chikuni does not respond to our queries and messages slent to RBM Spokesperson Ralph Tseka were not responded to.
MAREP has been used as a goldmine for corruption and political patronage with millions of dollars spent without much impact on the intended communities.
The Investigator Magazine will publish a detailed rip off MAREP has been to Malawians in its February’s print edition.