Malawi: Government Warns Against Abuse of Statutory Corporations Vehicles

Government has discovered that management of the Statutory Corporations prefer using private registration numbers on pool and personal-to-holder motor vehicles and has since been asked to stop the tendency.

A circular to all heads of the State-owned enterprises from Comptroller of Statutory Corporations, Peter Simbani — dated September 5 — the government has since approved the re-assignment of dormant SC prefix numbers to new parastatals, which “implies that each parastatal across the sector now has the special SC numbers for identification”.

On the tendency by management of using private registration numbers on pool and personal-to-holder motor vehicles, the Comptroller said “this has encouraged the proliferation of abuse across the sector resulting in loss of Government resources through maintenance and replacement of the fleet”.

He thus ordered that all Parastatals “to ensure their whole fleet — both pool and personal-to-holder vehicles — has the SC number at all times for identification by the authorities and the public”.

He went further to announce that the government has approved new motor vehicle registration procedures that will ensure that his office; the department of Plant & Vehicle Hire & Engineering Services (PVHES); and the Directorate of Road Traffic & Safety Services (DRTS), have a record of parastatal fleet.

“This is to ensure that there is no loss of vehicles through irregular deregistration and theft due to the gaps with the current system,” he said.

The secure procedure to be used in registering new Parastatal motor vehicles include that:

1. All newly-procured motor vehicles should first be registered by PVHES for assignment of the Malawi Government (MG) registration number;

2. The motor vehicle should then be registered next the MalTIS at DRTSS; and

3. The Parastatal will then be required to apply to the Comptroller’s office for the assignment of the SC prefix number to the motor vehicle by filling a form that will be presented to DRTSS for authorization of printing of the registration plates.

“Let me reiterate that Parastatal fleet are Government assets and as controlling officers, you have a fiduciary duty for its prudent management and safeguarding against loss and abuse.”

The Comptroller emphasized that the controlling officers should comply with the directives in the circular, which was copied to Secretary to the President & Cabinet and Directors of DRTSS and PVHES.

An impeccable source within the Statutory Corporations agreed that most senior managers — entitled to personal-to-holder motor vehicles — are contributing to loss of Government resources in that when the terms of agreement matures for them to buy the vehicles, the companies go ahead to replace them with another new car.

“They immediately sell the car they had been using and wait for another maturity period of the new personal-to-holder motor vehicles to sell out again,” said our source.

“For instance, if the car was bought at K30 million, they buy it off at 3% of the value, that is at K3 million. They then sell it out at over K20 million and the cycle continues.

“The practice is all over the Statutory Corporations — they prefer to use ordinary registration plates,” said our source, while applauding the Government’s decision to reassign the registration process.

He maintained that the vehicles, upon maturity of the period it was assigned to the manager as personal-to-holder, the Statutory Corporations spent millions in its maintenance but instead of them continuing using the cars for official duties, they insisted of being bought new official cars.

The Parastatals, after re-assignment of dormant SC prefix numbers, are now at 70.


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