Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) says there are no ‘well-substantiated grounds’ to institute investigations on Khato Civils (Pty) Limited, a Malawian owned South African based design and construction company over the Multi Billion Kwacha Salima – Lilongwe Water Supply project.
A very high ranking official at the country’s graft-busting body says the complaints that the bureau has received and recorded have no legal basis to warrant an investigation and that doing so would be a waste of time and resources.
The senior officer speaking on anonymity said: “To be honest, there is nothing wrong that Khato Civils has done wrong as regards the Salima -Lilongwe Water Supply Project and there is nothing to investigate at the moment.”
“The Bureau is aware, however, that there are some people who are bringing personal vendettas with some people at Khato Civils and are just trying to make stories up for their own interests and drag the bureau into it,” added the senior official.
The ACB top official said it is cheap talk to suggest that because the former ACB chief Lucas Kondowe now works for Khato as a Consultant then he can influence the bureau on anything as regards its operations as a graft-busting body.
Said the ACB high ranking official: “As far as we are concerned Mr Kondowe left the bureau and has no direct or indirect connection with ACB therefore to suggest that his involvement with Khato Civils puts the bureau in difficult situation is nothing but nonsensical. Mr (Lucas) Kondowe no longer works for the bureau and he is free to engage in economic activities with anyone.”
Khato Civils, a company that boasts a pool of the highest skills and qualifications in terms of qualified professionals with broad experience and prides itself in the areas of fibre optics, mass earthworks, pipelines, water works, roads and concrete works, have already spent up to US$43.2million so far on the required processes precedent to commencing the project.
The Malawi Government has not yet paid any money to Khato Civils for the project.
Accordingly, any unnecessary delays on the project will be costly and regrettably, the costs will be borne by the taxpayers in order for the project to materialise and the citizens and residents of the country’s capital city are to a great extent in need of clean portable water.
ACB senior Public relations officer Egrita Ndala said: “We have received a random complaint but there are no investigations, not now and we do not think the complaint has any substance.”
Khato Civils has issued since released public statement and vowed to fight the people wishing to drag the organisation into mudslinging saying they will fight anyone in any court or any front who would want to tarnish the company’s image.
Reads the statement in part: “The issue on whether or not an “anonymous” complaint will be found to have the merit to lead to an investigation is a matter entirely up to the ACB based on its processes and the law of the land.”
“We are more than prepared to fully corporate with the ACB should indeed they reach such a conclusion. As in the past, our resolve is unshaken, as Khato Civils, we will always deploy all required resources, and we have enough, to defend the integrity of the company to ensure fairness and justice. We will not tolerate or accept any unsubstantiated innuendos intended to bring disrepute to Khato Civils, its directors, stakeholders and employees go unchallenged,” further reads the statement.