Lawyers advising ICTC Malawi have written the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) demanding answers as to how their winning bid submitted to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) for the supply of various secondary notebooks ended up in possession of their competitor joint venture of Mallory International and Maneno Enterprises.
The US$10 million tender Ref: MoEST CONTRACT NO: ICB: 025 /IPC /MOEST /ADB /G/2016-17/01 was shared between ICTC Malawi and joint venture of Mallory International of United Kingdom and local company Maneno Enterprises at a ratio of 75% to 25%.
The query seen by Nyasa Times in a letter reference number SILC 28/01/2018 dated 5th January 2018 written by lawyers Silungwe Law Consultants which has also been copied to Principal Secretary (MoEST), Ministry of Finance, Director Generals at Anti-Corruption Bureau Director General,Financial Intelligence Authority and Competition & Fair Trading.
"Would you clarify how our client's successful bid ended up in the hands of their joint competitors Mallory International and Maneno Enterprises? We are raising this question because all bids are submitted with commercial in confidence, meaning there is a duty upon the recipient and their employees or agents not to share, leak, distribute and divulge the contents as they have sensitive information," reads the letter in part.
Mallory International based in UK but operating in 15 countries had reported ICTC Malawi to authorities at AfDB and ACB after it investigated the winning bid to have contained bank guarantees which would not be 'validated.'
The company has supplied books to the Ministry of Education since 1989 enjoying a clear monopoly.
The AfDB came to Malawi to investigate the anomalies with ICTC bid documentation but are yet to communicate the results.
"Our client was visited and interviewed by your team (AfDB) following allegations of wrong doing reported by Mallory International.It is now over 30 days since you visited and interviewed our client. Our client is yet to be furnished with a report of the visit. Would you indicate when our client can expect to receive it or advise on its progress,"writes Silungwe.
There are fevered speculation that Mallory and Maneno are pressing graft-busting body and Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) to probe ICTC Malawi.
ACB investigators say the tender was already certified that no corrupt malpractices took place in the award.
"They are complaining fraud, but ACB doesn't not deal with fraud. Someone needs educating on the role of ACB," a senior investigation officer confided in Nyasa Times.
In 2016, MoEST overturned its decision to award Tradewings Worldwide Limited to supply textbooks because the ACB was investigating the company for its alleged link to Cashgate.