Malawi: ACB to Investigate Nocma, Escom, Mera K5bn Scam After HRDC Whistleblowing Initiative

3 August 2020

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) says it has busted a scam costing tax-payers about K5 billion involving three parastatals: Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera), Electricity Supply Commission of Malalwi (Escom) and National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma).

HRDC, through its Whistleblower Initiative, has since reported the matter to Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and wants a quick investigation into it.

In the letter dated July 28 2020 signed by chairperson Gift Trapence, HRDC says ESCOM is using generators owned by AGGREKO to back up power supply and ESCOM entered into an agreement with NOCMA for the supply of fuel.

"The agreement was approved by MERA. NOCMA was supposed to be charging landed cost plus mark up. This agreement was signed in December 2017 and expired in December 2018," reads the letter.

However, despite expiry of agreement in 2018, HRDC alleged that NOCMA continues to supply fuel to ESCOM without a new agreement.

"Meanwhile, NOCMA entered into a more expensive contract with SAHARA Inc of Egypt for the supply of fuel. This resulted in NOCMA making losses. To cover for the loss that NOCMA made, NOCMA decided to forge the approved agreement signed between ESCOM and NOCMA to factor in the loss and thus billed ESCOM MK5 billion," reveals the letter.

HRDC further underlines that their investigations showed that ESCOM was supposed to arrange transportation of the fuel from NOCMA to generation sites but NOCMA changed the arrangement and started delivering fuel.

"Our investigations show that most of this fuel was never delivered and only paper work was completed in order for ESCOM to effect payment," reads the letter.

ACB director genera Reyneck Matemba said they will probe institutions reportedly engaged un malpractices, saying information from HRDC is relevant and will simplify their work.

Matemba commended HRDC for their Whistleblower Initiative, saying "the information they are providing to the ACB through their platform us very relevant and useful for our work."

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