(MENAFN - The Maravi Post) LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) and the Forum for National Development (FND) on Friday lodged complaint to the Competition and Fair Trade Commission over unfair and noncompetitive trade practices by Mallory and MANENO joint venture in the text book industry.
The two organisation seek the country's high office to take appropriate action over the trade monopoly
The complaint has also being extended to National Authorizing Officer (NAO) Support Unit
Ministry of Finance, Economic Development, The Principle Secretary Ministry of Education, Science and Technology,COMESA Competition and Fair Trade Commission,the Ambassador and Head of Delegation European Union (EU) and the Executive Director of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB)
FND and HRCC say the decision has been made after noting that the actions of Mallory International is directly impacting on the Right to Education among pupils in Malawi and we take it upon ourselves to ensure that the access and delivery of education must not be impinged.
Below is the full complaint text signed by Robert Mkwezalamba and Bright Kampaundi, HRCC and FND board chairperson and chairperson respectively, and made available to The Maravi Post;
BOARD CHAIRPERSON (HRCC) CHAIRPERSON (FND
COMPLAINT OVER UNFAIR AND NONCOMPETITIVE TRADE PRACTICES BY MALLORY AND MANENO JOINT VENTURE IN THE TEXT BOOK INDUSTRY
The Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) and the Forum for National Development (FND) would like to lodge a formal complaint to the Commission and subsequently request for your high Office and those copied hereto to take appropriate action on the Unfair and noncompetitive Trade Practices being practiced by Mallory International Co.
As Human Rights organizations we have taken this stand noting that the actions of Mallory International is directly impacting on the Right to Education among pupils in Malawi and we take it upon ourselves to ensure that the access and delivery of education must not be impinged.
As a matter of introduction, we have come across disturbing information within the text book
industry in our pursuit to establish why Government is failing to supply necessary text books in
the secondary schools on time.
The delay to do so is a result of the issues within the supply chain which unfortunately most can be attributed to actions on the said Company.
Every time Mallory International loses a bid to supply text books to another company, they embark
on a crusade to destroy and damage the reputation of the Competitors. The Company uses each
and every means including inside trading, threats, and reporting to development partners and
raising unfounded accusations of corruption on the tenders against the Government.
The said actions, have been going on for some time and we have noted that the Company even go
overboard to start discrediting other players in the industry.
Evidence also show that Mallory and Maneno Joint Venture has unusual access to competitors tender documents submitted in a closed bid documents.
The Company uses its being housed in United Kingdom and also having enjoyed the monopoly in the book sector for some time as a blank Cheque for them to be the only player in the text book industry and uses intimidatory tendencies against the Government through threats including reports of their alleged manipulation of development partners to stop supporting the Government of Malawi.
The pity on all this matter is disregard of the Company on the repercussions of their actions on the
education sector and right to education of the children of Malawi.
The actions that the Company undertook in a similar manner under a World Bank Project in 2013 led to the cancellation of the entire bid. We are reliably informed that the above tender was cancelled by the World Bank after Pearson Publishers were coerced to lodge a complaint to the World Bank alleging Corruption after a local entity had secured the bid.
In 2017 when the Company lost another text book bid to a local company, they went overboard to mobilize the Publishers to deny publisher's Authorization to the local company. To an extent that one publisher Jhango ultimately denied the authorization which led for the publisher's books to be taken out of the list of text books in Malawi. When the Company never succeeded on the matter, they pestered the Government through the Ministry of Education to cancel the bid in their favour.
The Company further influenced the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) to launch a Corruption investigation into the bid of which up to now the basis cannot be established.
Presently Mallory and Maneno Joint venture has continued to frustrate the delivery of text books
to an extent that Pearson Publisher's continue to withhold text books while they were already paid
for the service also on similar Corruption claims.
Surprisingly the Director of Pearson had to travel to Malawi, sought an audience with Ministry and made demands on the Ministry of Education to cancel the contract with a local company in favour of Mallory and Maneno Joint venture.
As we submit this complaint, Pearson has not released the books, neither returned the payments made for
the books despite Malawi Government making it point blank to her that nothing will change in the contract and offer already granted.
What has further compelled our actions is their current actions where a contract for the Supply of
Textbooks for 21 Community Day Secondary Schools for Improving Secondary Education in Malawi (ISEM) – Publication reference: EuropeAid/139174/1H/SUP/MW has been awarded to Tradewings World Wide Limited.
Just as before Mallory and Maneno has taken upon itself to start investigating and demeaning the capacity of the competitor. We are reliably informed that typical of a bad loser, the Company has also lodged a complaint with the donors, EU to investigate the contract and suspend it. The evidence the Company is using point to inside trading on their part and unfair trading practices.
What baffles us most is that Mallory and Maneno Joint venture is not concerned with the impact of their actions and its contribution to the dwindling standards of education as they continue to hold Malawi and in particular, innocent learners at ransom.
The company focus on making money at the expense of poor Malawian learners which is a violation of the rights to education and prosperous future of Malawian youth.
In the current two contracts, the first text books have delayed due to the issues that the Company has been doing and already there are indicators that the EU contract would delay if not cancelled
altogether by actions of Mallory and Maneno Joint Venture. In all these circumstances, the main losers are the pupils and learners in Malawi who are being denied their right to education.
It is based on the foregoing, that we write your commission to immediately investigate the action of Mallory International in the text book industry.
As Civil Society Organizations, We are contemplating of further proposing to the Malawi Government for the Company not be allowed to participate in any tender of text books in the country until the issues we are raising have been clarified, addressed and stopped forthwith. We cannot allow a company whose focus
is to make profit, make money at the expense of our learners.
We have made copies to relevant institutions and bodies to take note of the issues raised above and make appropriate action as at times the actions of the Company would not only border on unfair trade practices but there would also be element of corruption and inside trading especially at how the company is able to access the bid documents of competitors which are private.
Robert Mkwezalamba, HRCC Board chairperson
Bright Kampaundi, FND Chairperson