Bridgin Foundation's US$6.8 billion grant to Malawi raises eyebrows

Chakwera and the Bridgin Foundation

Skepticism has risen over Bridgin Foundation giving Malawi government a $6.8 billion (approximately MK 7 trillion) grant meant for infrastructure projects.

The suspicion started over the figure which goes well over Malawi's financial budget; as well as how the Foundation conducts business.

President Lazarus Chakwera at the signing ceremony at Kamuzu Palace said the money will go into construction in the education, health, technology and energy sectors.

Chakwera

The first phase projects include construction of Inkosi ya Makhosi Mbelwa University and construction of a bioscience, agro-processing and fertilizer manufacturing plants at LUANAR Lilongwe campus.

Malawi government has touted the grant as a game changer for the country but questions have been raised if the due diligence was done.

Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences ( Mubas) economist, Betchani Tchereni commenting on the situation highlighted: "US$6.8bn is a big number, people are justified to be skeptical; the "Its too good to be true" principle at work. Nthawi nkachitsiru, it won't take long to prove. Assuming it's true and not bogus, US$6.8bn is a number to salivate about. Koma ngati zili za bogus izizo anthu inu, aaaaaa!"

An Internet search shows the Foundation's website has little information about themselves citing security reasons and no contact details but a push button to link to the President of the Foundation Tanko Mouhamadou, which some Malawians found sketchy.

Veteran journalist Brian Ligomeka wondered how big institutions have contacts on their site but only these cite security reason.

"....This website is intentionally left without detailed content; should you need further information, please contact us using the button below.

Prof. Tanko Mouhamadou, President Aaaaah! Aaaaah. Zikukhala bwanji kodi. Kungokhala ngati anyamata amene amati: Mwawina k300000 mtukula pa khomo. Imbani nambala iyi. Go  website of all credible funders and partners World Bank, IMF, Africa Bank, information ndi ngambwingambwi. Izi ndiye ziti. Musamugwiritse munthu wa mkulu ujeni anyamata ndi atsikana a Chief inu [What's going on? Why are they hiding information when all other big funders have information readily available].

Technology guru, Joel Dickson fact checked the Foundation's website saying it is not registered in the European Union and that it is shady 

My last take on the deal with Bridgin Foundation: The company is not listed in the EU registrar website https://t.co/EkLGYfrKve

It is listed in the Belgian public registry but its kind of shady as well, check for yourself https://t.co/0WHJLdVwab

— Visit Vwaza.com (@JoelFickson) November 28, 2022

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Tanko Mouhamadou and Chakwera
Tanko Mouhamadou and Chakwera

Former Reserve Bank of Malawi Governor, Dalitso Kabambe warned this has scam  written all over it: "There are always crooks out there ready to swindle governments. When I was within the system, we were always met by those offers. Promises and cheap lies. The rule of the thumb always remained that if it sounded too good to be true, then it was not true.

"A little research on some of the offers always revealed that the offer was a scam. But this government is desperate and in that desperation it has been a victim of cheap scams.

"The other day, it was fertiliser. Then we heard on fuel. Now, apparently, there is a grant in a region of billions of US dollars. The terms of the agreement are as vague as the institution offering the money.

"Simple lesson in economics: there is no shortcut to financial and economic stability. You put in the work. You make the sacrifices. Izi zamadulira mukuchita apazi, we will be sending our officers again across the world to chase money swindled from government."

But Minister of Information and Digitization, Gospel Kazako reacting to the red flag that this is a scam said Malawians' spirit of poverty shares the same platform with the spirit of disbelief, doubt and negativity  dominated by envy.

"It knows no progress. It screams loudly when positivity arrives in a situation. It is a very destructive spirit. It gets irritated by anything positive. It doesn't choose who to enslave. It can enslave economists, architects, accountants, medical doctors, journalists, lawyers, musicians, educationists and many more. It doesn't discriminate. The educated and uneducated can be its victims. We have seen the highly educated  being enslaved.

"Very dangerous spirit. Very destructive. It is this spirit that has killed nations around the world."

Kazako said for the government to beat the naysayers and stay focused.