Wednesday, October 1, 2008
UNDP withholds MEC’s K10m
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is yet to release about K10 million to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) which the commission borrowed from government to purchase registration materials, Malawi News has established.
The UN agency is said to be asking for receipts for purchases made during the procurement of the registration materials and also mode of selecting the suppliers, a thing--according to sources within MEC and UNDP, has said the Commission is failing to provide the needed information.
UNDP set aside about K5 billion (US$ 28.9 million) under Democratic Governance Support for Electoral Reforms and Elections in Malawi which among other things included the provision of funding to the MEC for the procurement of electoral materials and implementation of activities.
A source at UNDP said MEC went ahead to source money from government to purchase the registration when the Commission thought UNDP was taking time to effect the identification of the suppliers.
“There was an understanding that UNDP will pay back the money which MEC got from government. We are committed to pay back the money to Malawi government through MEC and what we are asking them are receipts and procedures followed for us to effect payment,” said the source.
In October 2007 UNDP advertised for interested companies to supply materials for the registration exercise but the advert did not attract the intended response and due to the time limit MEC went ahead to identify suppliers and procure materials using government money.
In April 2008 Malawi Electoral Commission, through Malawi government, made a payment of about K10 million to an Australian company which won the supply tender on understanding that UNDP would reimburse the money to Malawi Government.
But Malawi News source at MEC said UNDP has expressed reluctance to pay the money to MEC in the absence of receipts and also is asking the Commission to outline the procedures followed to identify the contractors if they are in line with UNDP procurement procedures.
MEC Chairperson Anastasia Msosa admitted there were some delays of payment because of things to do with procurement but said discussions were underway and she was optimistic that the UN agency will pay the money.
“There are issues regarding procurement but I am sure they are going to be resolved and money will be paid. UNDP has already given us part of the money for other activities and this issue will be resolved,” she said.
The UNDP provides financial support to MEC for planning and implementing a focused programme across the country which among them includes implementing the civic and voter education activities with the support from accredited civil society organizations.
UNDP is also expected to provide support for actual conduct of elections.
When contacted for comment Sam Alfandika Project Coordinator for the UNDP Support to electoral reforms and elections in Malawi programme said he was at Mec in Blantyre and offered provide Malawi News with necessary information a thing he never did. Alfandika could not pick his phone as we went to press.