The current Secretary General of Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( MCCI), Yousouf Ismael has been facing investigations for his alleged involvement in a blurry allocation of contract while being at the helm of the Central Water Authority (CWA).
Early January 2020, Yousouf Ismael had been interrogated under warning for over four hours by officers of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). Questions pertained to bypassing of procedures in the allocation of contract for upgrading of CWA network in the region of Ville Noire and Grand Bel Air. Sources at ICAC affirm, the inquiry has been completed and the commission will soon be moving for formal charges to be pressed against Yousouf Ismael.
ICAC has however been very selective in its inquiry. While the Ville Noire – Grand Bel Air project contract is valued at MUR 120 million, other contracts worth billions have also been allocated in similar shady manner. Despite whistle blowers drawing attention to contracts having undergone 100% variations and the impunity with which contractors disrespect mandatory terms, neither the parent ministry nor ICAC have dared to dig into the sustained claims.
One of the main contractors, Best Construct ltd, requires a particular attention. The company which bagged most of the CWA contracts since 2015 remains unbothered despite non completion of works causing daily hazards to commuters. Not only the CWA has refrained from claiming liquidated damages as per contract terms, on the other end, the government has poured in further hundreds of millions to complete resurfacing of roads in affected areas. Works for which Best Construct Ltd had already been paid for and bankrolled by state owned entities.
While the reinstatement of Ivan Collendavelloo looms over, giving some protagonists of the story a reason to smile, things have sped up at the Mauritius Investment Corporation Ltd (MIC). Yousouf Ismael who had been appointed as one of the Directors of the MIC has been discretely replaced by Economist & Finance expert, Swadicq Nuthay. The move is deemed to be in anticipation of an imminent arrest, thereby avoiding the MIC further embarrassment. Will the MCCI emulate the MIC ? Or will Yousouf Ismael go down as the first Secretary General of the Industry flagship to be charged ? Watch this space …..