The Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) is demanding over K6 million from government in form of electricity bills for Ndata Farm house, a private residence belonging to late president Bingu wa Mutharika, Malawi News can reveal.
But correspondence from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), written by the then Chief Secretary to the Government Bright Msaka and addressed to the Chief Executive Officer for Escom John Kandulu dated October 9, 2012 – which Malawi News has seen, indicates that OPC denied liability to pay the said amount.
According to the document, the former president had not been honouring electricity bills for Ndata Farm house which he dubbed Casa Blanca or White House. This forced Escom to demand payment for the services rendered to Ndata’s main house and staff houses from State Residences in a letter dated July 14, 2010 with an invoice attached.
“You are aware that the Ndata residence is a private property, and not a government one. I am therefore surprised that a bill of K6,024,396.00 for the supply of electricity to this property has been addressed to the State Residences for settlement. I wish to advise that the bill should be addressed to the manager or the owner of Ndata Estate who is your rightful customer on this matter,” reads the letter in part.
OPC also wondered in the letter how Escom conducted itself passively when handling the transaction which cost the corporation huge sums of money.
“I am surprised that your corporation provided the service without asking your customer to pay for it in advance, as would normally be the practice,” the Chief Secretary wonders in the letter.
The letter bears side notes notably written and signed for by Director of Finance at Escom Betty Mahuka questioning the corporation’s Senior Construction Engineer why a wrong customer was invoiced.
“Senior Construction Engineer, how come we charged a wrong customer? Who asked for the quotation…what happened?” reads the handwritten notes dated October 17,2012.
The revelations come hot on the heels of recent revelations that the former president allegedly amassed wealth over MK61 billion during his eight year reign as the country’s head of state.
When contacted for comment, Escom Public Relations Manager Kitty Chingota initially asked for more time to investigate whether the bill has been settled.
“It is difficult for me to comment at this point because I am travelling so could you please give us some time so that we can duly respond to your questions?” she said.
But later Chingota asked Malawi News to forward a questionnaire to her secretary who would have it processed. We never got communication from either the Escom publicist or her secretary by the time we went to press. – By Archibald Kasakura