Malawi: ACB to Probe K1.6bn Ambulances Deal Awarded to 'Guptas of Zambia'

11 September 2020

Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) has been asked to investigate Ministry of Health's intention to award a K1.6 billion ($2.2 million) contract to a Zambian company to supply ambulances after it has emerged that it submitted an expensive bid and is accused of corruption, Nyasa Times has learnt.

Grandview International of Zambia has been awarded a contract to supply 35 Toyota Land Cruiser ambulances to Malawi's Ministry of Health.

Three local suppliers, including Toyota Malawi, offered lower quotations in the tender.

However, Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) said it suspected corruption in the transaction to award Grandview International of Zambia the contract and wants the matter probed.

In a newspaper notice dated September 10 2020, Ministry of Health announced intention to award a contract of about K1.6 billion to Grandview International

The company pegged each ambulance at US$63,000 each (about K47 million) while the cheapest offer was from Toyota Malawi which pegged each ambulance at US$47,800 (K35.8 million) per Toyota Landcruiser ambulance, which translated to about $1.6million (about K1.2 billion) for 35.

Toyota Malawi also reportedly offered two years of free service for the vehicles.

Nissan Malawi for Nissan Patrols quoted $56 224. 61 and Mike Appel &Gatto offered $61.381.

HRDC has since written Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) to investigate the matter.

"Given that Malawian companies were even cheaper, we are surprised that this contract was seemingly awarded to a questionable Zambian company," HRDC executive director Gift Trapence said in a letter to ACB dated September 10 2020.

Trapence signed the letter with HRDC national coordinator Luke Tembo.

"We appeal to the ACB to commence the investigation as soon as possible and that the anti-corruption body will update the nation when the investigation has started," reads HRDC letter to ACB.

In 2017, Zambian Member of Parliament Chishimba Kambwili accused Grandview of being involved in a controversial procurement of fire tenders. Kambwili said the company inflates prices of goods and uses political connections to acquire contracts.

Bokani Soko, one of the Directors at Grandview International is believed to have reached out to powerful Malawi Congress Party (MCP) officials just as the Guptas were seen to be close to South Africa's then President Jacob Zuma and some of his cabinet ministers.

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