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    Chinese contractor’s blackmail plot thickens

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    –Shells out of K50m to MCP media team to campaign for it and the team fight over the Chinese largese

    ON CLOUD NINE: MCP media team surviving on blood money

    A Chinese contractor is employing every trick in the book of crooks to grab the Marka-Bangula Railway rehabilitation project, this time shelling out a staggering K50 million for MCP media team to do a campaign to influence government to award it the contract.

    But now instead of doing the Chinese firm’s bidding, members of the MCP media team are on each others’ neck for a share of the K50m windfall from the corrupt contractor

    And hiring a ruling party media team is one of the blackmail tactics is has employed on this project.

    In an earlier act of evil, the firm warned the Malawi Government in writing that it will do its best ‘to protect its interests’ if it is not considered for the awarding of the contract to design and rehabilitate the railway.

    Early this month, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) cancelled the award of the contract after investigations into complaints from fellow bidders of alleged irregularities in the procurement process.

    The ACB directed the Ministry of Transport and Public Works to reevaluate three bidders within 15 working days.

    But it seems the firm is intent of wrestling the contract by any means necessary to the extent of issuing threats to the Ministry of Transport and Public Works.

    In a letter dated 17 December 2021 to Secretary for Transport and Public Works, the firm argues that it has not received any request from the ministry to extend the bid validity period, before contradicting itself in the same letter that expiry of bid validity period was never an issue in an earlier procurement process and it should not be a matter now.

    And in a thinly veiled way, it suggests that it can still be awarded the contract after the bid validity period has expired, cataloguing a number of smaller contracts that were awarded after the expiry of the bid validity period.

    The firm has made sure its threats are known by the higher authority by copying its letter to Minister of Transport Jacob Hara, Head of Presidential Delivery Unit Colleen Zamba and ACB Director General Martha Chizuma.

    The company’s threat came two days after the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) instructed the Ministry of Transport that since the bid validity period in the present contract has expired, the bids that were tendered in earlier contract cannot be revalidated.

    The PPDA provided the guidance through a letter dated 15 December 2021, signed by PPDA Director General Edington Chilapondwa.

    The ministry has since written back to the Chinese firm that its concerns and others’ are being given due attention.

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