Malawi in blackouts over $74 mil Escom genesets deal: Ligoya implicated

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    Malawians are made to live in blackout all day everyday as Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) board chairperson Dr. Perks Ligoya has messed up procurement of new heavy-duty generators that were expected to add about 80 megawatts to the national grid when he pushed for awarding of a $74 million contract to a South African firm Aggreko, Nyasa Times can reveal.

    Perks Ligoya in geneset deal

    This did not go down well with Escom’s Chief Executive Officer Evelyn Mwapasa who accused his board chairperson of interfering with the procurement process.

    Mwapasa has a reputation of being a tough and incorruptible manager.

    According to investigations, Mwapasa stopped the signing of the multimillion dollar contract with Aggreko after she became suspicious of the way procurement procedures were flouted.

    It later transpired that Ligoya had met Aggreko officials “on more than three occassions in South Africa to cut his deal.”

    Mwapasa’s tough stance was strengthened by another observation which the office of the director of public procurement (ODPP) made on the same and advised government to cancel the deal in what was termed as “some decisions and actions in the procurement process were wrongly made.”

    Nyasa Times sources at Escom confided that Ligoya had a “sweetener” when he made a trip to South Africa to meet Aggreko officials.

    “We have all the information regarding Ligoya’s connections to Aggreko and the deal he cut with the South African firm. Mwapasa was very angry upon hearing this and she immediately called the President to inform him about the rot in the generators deal,” confided a senior Escom manager privy to the issue.

    “It is a very tricky situation because we now have massive blackouts and generators have not yet been bought. But Mwapasa has put her foot down, she told us in a management meeting that its better to have blackouts and save government’s billions than go ahead with a deal which will only enrich few individuals,” added the source who spoke on condition of strict anonymity.

    Meanwhile, in a letter dated August 7, 2017 which Mwapasa wrote to ODPP, she highlighted several anomalies on the deal which she asked the office of the directorate of procurement to clarify before she could proceed with the Aggreko deal.

    Part of the letter reads: “Speed is of the essence in this procurement because the emergency power being procured is required from October 2017 when the country’s hydropower plants are at their lowest production capacity due to lower water flows in the Shire River.”

    The heavy-duty generators were scheduled to start running from this month but no single generator has been procured as ODPP informed government to cancel the procurement, observing that the process were “wrongly made”.

    Escom’s poor handling of the process has made companies to be forced to cut down on production, lives have been lost in hospitals while homes have been affected as well .

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