By Chikondi Lungu
Government has terminated a K260 million Public Relations contract that it converged with a US based firm to paint white Mutharika’s public image after paying $150 000 (K120 million), Malawi Punch has learnt.
The 12 months contract that Malawi Punch understands it was meant to go on an underground basis went on US based education policy organisation, Nelson Mullins.
Confirming the development, Minister of Finance, Hon Goodall Gondwe said the contract worth $30, 000 (about K23 million) a month was snatched from the firm for poor service deliverance.
“We employed them as most governments do. They eventually wanted us to be supplying more materials which we deemed expensive and we cancelled the contract after a few months,” he said.
Gondwe continued: “They gave us a $120 000 invoice which we paid. You have to ask the Foreign Affairs Ministry if there were any fruits, but I did not see much of what we were benefiting, that is why we closed it.”
However, Gondwe wrapped Mutharika in his defence saying the State House was not aware of the contract.
The Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale could either confirm or deny about the contract saying his office was not part of the contract drafting and his office has not received any complaint or lawsuit in relation to the contract.
The contract signed by Goodall Gondwe in 2015 on behalf of the State President Peter Mutharika was to aid Mutharika on his anti- corruption crusade; to strive to bring back donor community in the country; to ensure that Malawi borders are secure(especially on Malawi- Tanzania border disputes) in view of oil exploration taking place on Lake Malawi.
“The issues of security of Malawi’s borders are paramount. The issue with Tanzania is a growing concern. Now that oil has been found under Lake Malawi, Tanzania wants to challenge the border placement. Nelson Mullins will make this point to the appropriate people within the Administration and on Capitol Hill while seeking US help in securing the borders,” reads part of the contract.
The secrecy behind the PR deal has raised a concern from some organisation including Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) faulting Mutharika’s administration of abusing the principle of accountability that government officials are responsible for the citizenry for their decisions and actions.