…Judges put under pressure
…AG’s joining could open pandora’s box
There is panic at Khato Civils and the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) has the unexpected challenge to a well-crafted K105 billion payment in the name of the Lilongwe Salima Water Project seems to have backfired.
The Investigator Magazine will publish this Sunday more details of the hidden murky contract whose terms continue to be dictated by the contractor Khato Civils who has already spent K25 billion, with K14 billion paid directly by the taxpayers and he still wants more, by hook or crook. In our print edition, out later this month, Khatos changing contract and influence will be exposed.
Experts in the Government say borrowing an extra K105 billion at the time Malawi’s debt levels are very high could collapse the economy as it is a direct spite of the IMF’s current warning that Malawi needs to restructure not add more debt. Should President Lazarus Chakwera have his way, it is highly unlikely that the IMF programme would resume under this regime.
Fryson Chodzi’s court injunction stopping National Bank of Malawi and NBS Bank from dispersing the K105 billion cut short the champagne popping at Khato and OPC who have cut corners since the beginning, that the company’s lawyer Chancy Gondwe approached the court on the weekend to have Chodzi’s injunction quashed. Justice Ken Manda refused.
Judiciary sources say the matter has caused anxiety that some senior Judges might have asked for a quick hearing. The Investigator Magazine has been informed that the Supreme Court benches could offer comfort to the parties seeking to overturn the injunction should Justice Manda refuse the application and an appeal is lodged.
Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda is said to have faced a “dress down” that he is now joining the case not to defend “public interest” but those of the few that are likely to benefit from the windfall of the project that has no feasibility studies done.
The project contract has also been hidden from the public as it contains “ugly and stupid commitments” that government does not want Malawians to see, whilst top civil servants have told us to “keep fighting and stop this madness.”
Lawyers for Chodzi hope Khato Civils and Chakaka Nyirenda will be able to avail the hidden contract in court to justify their interest in the matter. This could open Pandora’s box for those involved as Malawians will know who, how, and when the decision to borrow from a private company was made.
Khato Civils at the start of 2016 initially won the contract on the pretext that it will finance the project to the tune of US$500 million. The project was from a paper by experts in the Department of Water that had been proposed years before.
Without any Feasibility or Environment Impact studies, politicians pushed for the project without any consideration for public finances but their pockets, until the World Bank and IMF raised concerns about its impact on Malawi’s debt.
The project has since undergone changes that now its priced at K500 billion, almost six percent of current debt levels, which the IMF is not sustainable. But President Lazarus Chakwera is not hearing any concerns that the extra debt could collapse the economy.
Justice Ken Manda, who is being attacked by social media trolls, has set Wednesday 17 May 2023 for a hearing. National Bank and NBS Bank have not joined the case.