BY ZIKOMO MATOPE
Barely days after it busted a K10 million scam at Chingeni Tollgate Plaza, the Road Funds Administration (RFA) announced on Friday that the Chingeni and Kalinyeke tollgate plazas have realized K1.2 billion in four months.
RFA spokesman Masauko Ngwaluko said the figure is an increase from the K700 that was realised in February.
“RFA has already advised the Malawi Roads Authority to start the process of rehabilitating the M1 road using the funds,” Ngwaluko said.
Last week, Roads Fund Administration (RFA) busted a syndicate that is alleged to have skimmed government off millions of Kwacha through the issuance of duplicate receipts to motorists at Chingeni Toll Plaza and Kalinyeke Toll Gate in Balaka and Dedza districts respectively.
The country commissioned its first toll gates last year but, barely few months of their existence, theft, reportedly in millions of Kwacha and targeting vehicles in the category of between K4,000 and K5,000 per one-way trip, has been reported.
In a statement released last Tuesday, RFA says about K10 million must have been misappropriated by toll collectors at both Chingeni and Kalinyeke toll gates.
According to the statement, they deployed internal auditors to investigate the incidents.
“The auditors have confirmed the fraudulent activities and recognised the concerned transactions, including use of CCTV footage, for the noted irregularities,” the statement reads.
According to the statement, investigations are at an advanced stage to establish the full nature and extent of the fraud.
RFA says incidents took the form of issuance of duplicate receipts to unsuspecting high-value paying vehicles after misclassifying their vehicles on boom opening as low-value paying vehicles and pocketing the difference.
Earlier, RFA spokesperson Masauko Ngwaluko had told the press that the authority was aware of the issue of fraud.
“I can confirm that, indeed, there are some suspected fraudulent activities and, indeed, six employees have been suspended. Some RFA staff [members] have been manipulating the toll payment system,” Ngwaluko said.