MDF helicopters deal to save K30bn

…Airbus deal was K43.5bn

…proposed deal is only K13.5bn

Senior officials at the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) have confirmed that the military intends to buy four new reconditioned helicopters, but said the deal would save Malawi at least K30 billion.

Reacting to The Investigator Magazine story,  the officials who cannot be named as they can’t discuss the matter officially, said the team that went to South Africa was scouting reconditioned helicopters that would cost the country K13.5 billion (US$10million).

“The airbus deal was roughly K43.5 billion (€27million) that would service the helicopters and see us buy four reconditioned helicopters from them. This one we are buying the reconditioned helicopters from a different source at K13.5 billion, which is K30 billion less,” said the official.

He said those that had leaked the information were to “benefit” from the Airbus deal as such they were making the scouting trip as suspicious.

“We consulted our friends in Zambia Defence Force and South African National Defence Force (SANDF) they are using the same helicopters we are looking at. They recommended these ones as they have experience,” added another official.

A second official said no deal had been finalised as agreed as after getting quotes then they will be presented to Government for approval.

“Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania are using the same reconditioned helicopters and they got from same supplier. Why buy something very expensive with our economy when you can buy and use it for the same job for 30 years,” challenged the MDF official.

Asked of Paramount had offered incentives to be chosen as a supplier, the official laughed;

 “When you are dealing with crooks that’s when you should be worried.The senior MDF official’s are not crooks and do not take bribes, that’s why there is disinformation because the option of cheaper deal is unsettling to those that wanted the expensive option.”

Minister of Finance Sosten Gwengwe was quoted in local media that Goverment intend to procure helicopters that would help in search and rescue in reaction to Cyclone Freddy which caught Malawi unprepared that it had to rely on helicopters from Tanzania and Zambia.

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