At a time Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) is struggling to supply water to city residents, public institutions that include the State House owe the board K3.8 billion in unpaid bills.
The Daily Times understands that the bills, as at April 30, have compelled the utility body to start disconnecting water in some of the institutions.
Documents we have sourced indicate that the Malawi Defence Force owes LWB K1.1 billion, the Malawi Police Service K1.03 billion, State Residences K736 million, Kamuzu Central Hospital K305 million and Lilongwe Girls Secondary School K107 million.
Others that owe the utility institution millions of kwacha in unpaid bills include Malawi Prisons, Bwaila District Hospital, Malawi College of Health Sciences and Lilongwe Teachers Training College.
LWB spokesperson, Maurice Mkawihe, confirmed the development in an interview yesterday. He could, however, not shed more light on the implicated institutions.
“I can confirm that we, as Lilongwe Water Board, have embarked on a mass disconnection campaign. We are targeting all those accounts that have not been serviced. We have already disconnected water in some institutions as well as individual customers,” he said.
Mkawihe said unpaid bills have serious implications on the operation of LWB, which is failing to undertake some of its core activities.
National Police spokesperson, James Kadadzera, asked for more time to get “correct information” on the matter before he could comment.
On his part, Director of State Residences, Peter Mukhito, said, while he could not immediately confirm the amount, he was aware that the bills that State House owes LWB have been accumulating over time.
“These are outstanding bills accumulated even from the time of Dr [Kamuzu] Banda and we have been servicing them regularly. There is commitment to settle the bills. They are not from one administration,” Mukhito said.
Meanwhile, some Members of Parliament have been pressing the government to expedite the process of tapping water from Salima to Lilongwe to avert a possible crisis.