National Advocacy Platform (NAP)—an umbrella body of some 60 civil society organisations, has welcomed communication from the Attorney General Dr Chikosa Silungwe cautioning the new Tonse Alliance led administration against poorly-drafted contracts, unlawful dismissals and redeployment of heads of government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
Silungwe, who is government’s chief legal advisor, has urged the Tonse Alliance administration led by Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera, to involve his office in the drafting of all government contracts in a bid to save public funds.
According to the Attorney General, as at 17 August 2020 and for the financial years 2018/19 and 2019/20, “the total judgement debt against the State stands at approximately K29 billion.”
Benedicto Kondowe, chairperson of the National Advocacy Platform pointed that the communication was an indication that Attorney General had observed worrying trends in the government systems which prompted his action to sanitise the system.
In the communication, Silungwe also tackled the subject of secondment and observed that it was provided for in the Malawi Public Service Regugulations; hence, any purported secondment outside this legal framework was illegal.
He said: “Secondment is a temporary movement of an employee with consent from one ministry, department or agency to another ministry, department or agency to perform the function of a position that already exists or to take up a special project.
“The employee maintains his or her substantive position in the ‘sending’ ministry, department or agency. More critically, the secondment must be at the request of the ‘receiving’ ministry, department or agency.”
Besides, the Attorney General also clarified on the role of the SPC in secondment of employees, saying the SPC should only be involved in the secondment of Principal Secretaries or heads of public institutions.
“In all other cases, he cannot and must not be involved. Any involvement is tantamount to procedural impropriety and illegal. In all other cases, the Principal Secretaries are in charge of the process outlined in para 10,” he said.
The AG also scoffed at a practice “that has emerged in recent years where a public officer is informed that he or she been posted to the Office of the President and Cabinet where they shall be assigned new responsibilities,” saying such officers report for work and do nothing.
He said: “Illegal deployment is costly. Lately, the State has been ordered to pay over K700 million and K500 million because of illegal deployment of officers. Fair labour practice is paramount principle under Malawi’s labour law. The courts in Malawi have relentlessly upheld this principle.”
A fortnight ago, Attorney General also stopped the OPC from seconding to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs an official Chizaso Nyirongo whose position, chief legislative officer, was already occupied by another officer Amani Mussa and the ministry did not request the secondment.
And Principal Secretary for Justice and Solicitor General Gertrude Hiwa is challenging in court her transfer to the OPC as chief director for good governance.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :