MALAWI: Electoral officials in graft scandal

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has suspended procurement officer Edward Jeke and he is living dangerously as he continue to receive death threats as the top electoral officials have embroiled in procurement scandal involving printing of ballot papers.

Malawi holds presidential and parliamentary elections on May 19 but the Commission and its chairwoman Anastasia Msosa is being riddled in many controversies ranging from wrongful-self enrichment with junior staffs facing trial over the missing of K400 million.

In a recent revelations, Jeke has been suspended for his refusal to comply to orders from Msosa and Chief Elections Office, David Bandawe to procure services of a South African printer to print ballot papers.

The South African printer was a year ago involved in leakage of Malawi School Certifcate of Examination due to security laxity.MEC insiders told Nyasa Times said the South African printer did not provide competitetive bid and did not match specification of the tender but money has exchanged hands with MEC boss and Chief Elections Officer.

In a related development, government is seconding two procurement officers to the electoral body to  facilitate the illicit deals.

The reasoning behind hiring a South African company  is to help ruling DPP to print campaign materials, said an impeccable source.

It is a DPP ploy to serve its interest, rig the elections by having additional ballot papers. Massive rigging has commenced, she said. 

Government has also seconded two intelligence officers to MEC and two computer experts.

The chairperson of the commission is working with government and with the President, a government insider confided.

The Commission has been faulted by stakeholders for poor organisation during the on-going registration exercise which has been marred with lot of challenges and irregularities raising fears of rigging scheme.

John Tembo, Bakili Muluzi, Dindi Gowa Nyasulu, James Nyondo, Loveness Gondwe, Stanely Masauli, Kamuzu Chibambo all these presidential hopefuls and their running mates are busy sleeping. Their friends are in control of command towers observed Pofela Nyekanyeka who runs Anti Voter Apathy Network (Avan).

In another scandal, a tender of US$7.95 million was fraudulently awarded to an Australian company Jazzmatrix through the influence of Frank Vassallo, the Chief Elections Consultant at MEC, who is himself an Australian.

Jazzmatrix is a bogus company which was specifically formed in readiness for this tender and is owned by Vassallo's own sister and her husband.

Msosa involvement  has been that she signed cheques related to procurement and financial expenditure riddled in procurement scam. 

However, the role of the Chairperson is clearly spelled out both in the Constitution and the Electoral Commission Act as determining policy and budgets together with other Commissioners, which provides the framework for implementation by the Chief Elections Officer, Heads of department and the entire MEC staff.

Observers want heads to roll at the Commission and that the chairwoman should resign.Nyekanyeka said Malawi should learn lessons from Kenya where rioting killed more than 1,000 people after its disputed presidential elections.

Mutharika appointed Reverend Dick Mzumara, Oliver Mwenifumbo, Ronald Mkomba, Brown Chimphamba, Jane Nankwenya, Georgina Chikoko and Mary Manyusa-Mangwiza as commissioners without consulting the stakeholders.

Opposition have repeatedly branded Malawi electoral body as Mutharika Electoral Commission.

To save their integrity, lawyer James Naphambo and Reverend Silas Ncozana turned down the appointment into the Mutharika Electoral Commission.

Nyasa Times

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