Finance minister Sosten Gwengwe on Tuesday announced that the country will no longer strike deals with international companies as far as the supply of Malawi Police Service (MPS) uniforms and food rations is concerned, saying, instead, they will be procured locally.
“We will no longer import Police uniforms. Instead, they will be made locally.
“Going forward no food rations will be imported, instead Police
officers will be given allowances to buy their food locally,” Gwengwe told parliament.
According to Gwengwe, it was nonsensical for the country to continue importing food rations when the country has enough food.
“We cannot continue importing Police Uniforms, when the country has capable tailors” Gwengwe said, adding that the new moves would be effected once the current contracts expire.
On Tuesday, Parliament approved approved the Homeland Security Vote which has an allocation of K12.3 Billion.
Government’s decision follows the discrepancies in the Malawi Police deals in which businessman Zameer Karim companies are reportedly said to have been bloating prices in the suppy of police uniforms and food rations to MPS.
In 2018, there were mounting calls for the resignation of former
President Peter Mutharika after a leaked report by the country’s
anti-graft body Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) accused him of receiving a kickback from a K2.8 billion ($3.9m; £2.8m) contract to supply food
to the police.
ACB had been investigating a Malawi police food supply contract, worth around K2.8 billion, that was awarded to a firm owned by businessman Zameer Karim, called Pioneer Investments.
The report alleged that the head of finance of Malawi’s police,
Innocent Bottomani, and Mr Karim had “connived” to award Pioneer Investment a contract to provide 500,000 food ration packs.
Days after the contract was signed, Pioneer Investment allegedly asked for a change to the agreed price from K2.3 billion to nearly K2.8 billion – the report said the change was fraudulently approved by Mr. Bottomani.
When Mr Karim was paid for supplying the food ration packs in 2016, he allegedly deposited K145 million into a DPP bank account that is reportedly managed by President Mutharika.
Social commentator Jackson Msiska hailed government for the move, saying it would benefit Malawians.
“What was happening in the past was unfortunate. This is a good move,” Msiska said.