Malawi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has issued a restriction notice to halt Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA)’s plan to buy a Revenue Assurance System machine that tracks revenue movement in the country’s telecommunications industry.
The bureau confirmed the development and said it has initiated an investigation. Although details are sketchy, it is understood that ACB has cited non-transparency as an issue.
In the restriction order ACB Deputy Director General Elia Bodele said: “Take notice that you shall not, without my written consent, proceed dealing with the procurement process towards the award of a contract pertaining to the procurement of Revenue Assurance Module by MACRA. This is in respect of a suspected offence under the Corrupt Practices Act.”
MACRA sought to acquire an additional system to add to the Consolidated ICT Regulatory Management System (CIRMS), in use since 2017, because it is unable to track transactions in telecommunications.
MACRA spokesperson Zadziko Makhambo said the regulator wanted to specifically track revenue from data and mobile money services. “Data services have become more essential and driving the telecoms revenue resulting in a drop in revenue in the voice revenue. The provision of mobile money services which uses telecom infrastructure to deliver the service is on the rise. As such, mobile money services have become an area of interest for regulators in their revenue plans.”
Makhambo added that MACRA would not contest the order because it does not want to be seen to be interfering with the ACB’s mandate