PCL uncovers K800m telephone scam at MTL
BY DICKSON KASHOTI
03:07:38 - 07 February 2007
PRESS Corporation Limited (PCL) has uncovered shoddy procurement deals that siphoned about K800 million from the privatised Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL).
PCL boss Mathews Chikaonda said Monday in Lilongwe during the commemoration of the national anti-corruption day, unscrupulous staff used a parallel structure to defraud the company.
Chikaonda, who represented the business community at the function, said the corrupt staff used the backdoor line to let people telephone outside the country, as far as India and Pakistan whilst pocketing K65 million a month.
"They were making international telephone calls. They used the line as their [telephone] bureau. We have since taken the line off," Chikaonda said.
Chikaonda also said the new investors at MTL have changed the procurement procedures as one way of sealing holes that have let company funds seep down the drain.
The PCL boss, who once served as a finance minister in the Muluzi administration, commended President Bingu wa Mutharika for his relentless fight against corruption.
He asked the government to clean up the salary and pension system in the civil service-to remove what he called 'ghost' workers on the payroll.
The business captain, whose company has interests spanning from real estate to banking, advised government to use smart card technology for civil servants' salaries.
"Use the technology to fight corruption. The Reserve Bank of Malawi has this technology-we can eliminate ghost workers through this system. If a person is dead, no one would be able to cash his salary," Chikaonda said.
He said corruption increases the cost of doing business and this is why, he added, the business community in the country formed the Business Action Against Corruption two years ago, and it is now about to adopt a business code against corruption.