Water and Sanitation Minister Abida Mia is demanding a report from Northern Region Water Board (NRWB) Chairperson over the conflict of interest involving the board’s chief executive officer (CEO) Titus Mtegha.
Mia’s demand of the report follows our January 22 2022 news article, which indicated that Mtegha rented out his two lodges to China State Construction Engineering Company, a contractor hired by the water board to handle the $26.7 million (K22 billion) Karonga Water Supply Project.
In an interview on Wednesday, Mia said she was demanding a report from the chairperson of the board of directors for the water board James Munthali because it is the board that hired Mtegha.
“The matter is a board matter because, by law, any public officer who is in [a] conflict of interest [situation] must declare in writing to the employer on issues that are deemed to put him or her in conflict of interest.
“In this case, the employer is the Board of Directors and the employee is engineer T.C Mtegha. I will, therefore, request the Board Chairman to furnish my office with a report indicating if the board is aware of this issue and if, indeed, a conflict of interest was declared. If not, then what steps has the board taken in line with the law,” Mia said.
In a previous interview, Mtegha admitted owning the lodges and renting them out to the contractor working on the Karonga Town Water Supply Project.
He was, however, quick to add that he declared his interest and submitted the documents to the board and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA).
Munthali corroborated Mtegha’s sentiments, saying the CEO served the board with a declaration on the same
But Mtegha is faulted over how he declared the interest.
Documents showing the declaration of interest are dated June 2021 when the project commenced in March 2021.
He made the declaration after the project had commenced and procurement processes had started, contrary to Section 22 of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act of 2022— which stipulates that a public officer wanting to declare interest should do so before the commencement of procurement processes.
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