ACB halts K1.1bn contract at Ministry of Agriculture

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has stopped the Ministry of Agriculture from awarding a contract worth about K1.1 billion to a South African company, Spatial Dimension Limited.

A notice from ACB to the Secretary for Agriculture dated October 5, 2020 issued by Director General Reyneck Matemba says the bureau has instituted an investigation in the matter for a suspected corrupt offence.

“Take notice that you shall not, without my written consent, proceed to award or undertake any activity for the award of a contract to Spatial Dimension South Africa (Pty) Limited or to any joint venture thereof, for the design, develop and operationalize, or for the design, supply, installation and commissioning, of the Land Information Management System under the Agricultural Commercialization Project,” reads the notice in part.

The move by ACB follows a request by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) to institute investigations into allegations that Spatial Dimension limited was dubiously awarded a contract worth $1,575,000 million on September 22, 2020.

In a letter dated September 28, 2020 jointly signed by HRDC National Chairperson Gift Trapence and HRDC National Coordinator Luke Tembo, the coalition said it received information through its whistleblower initiative that Spatial Dimension was awarded the contract despite lacking expertise in land information management.

“It is further alleged that initially Spatial Dimension withdrew from the bidding because of the requirement that the successful bidder should hand over the source code to Malawi Government on commissioning,” reads the letter in part.

In an interview with YFM Online, Tembo said it is alleged that officials from Spatial Dimension met officials from the Ministry of Agriculture prior to getting the contract.

“It is alleged that after the meeting, the Ministry of Agriculture made changes to the bidding requirement in order to favour the company,” Tembo said.

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