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A private contractor Ernest Kawonga has been ordered by the High Court of Malawi

Commercial Division to payback a sum of K84 million the firm neglected to pay government for hiring the services of state-owned company Plant and Vehicle Hire Organization (PVHO).

Justice Frank Kapanda made the ruling following an application by Attorney General Anthony Kamanga on behalf of the government and PVHO against Kawonga’s firm E and E Civil Engineering Construction.

According to one of state lawyers, Madalitso Kausi, the firm won contracts in 2009 to rehabilitate several roads with funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The road rehabilitation involved four districts; Mangochi, Nkhotakota, Nkhata-Bay and Salima amounting to K400 million but the firm sub-contracted PVHO after realising it could not complete the projects on its own.

Kausi, who represented the state alongside lead counsel Tasunga Makoto, further said the firm agreed with PVHO that the state-owned company will provide machinery, fuel, operators plus other expenses as part of the deal.

However, Kawonga’s lawyer, Happy Mwagomba, asked for more time to comment on the matter as he was yet to read the court ruling.

Both Kamanga and PVHO Director Symon Namuthuwa confirmed and hailed the ruling separately, saying this symbolised government’s commitment to ensure donor and taxpayers’ money is used prudently.

On his part, Namuthuwa said there are many other constructors who have defrauded PVHO in a similar way but said PVHO had now resolved to drag to court all those who were neglecting to pay back their debt. – By Golden Matonga

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