Bingu fails to pay staff over K30m in salary

It never rains for Malawi’s president Bingu wa Mutharika, but it pours this time the Malawi leader who has recently touted himself as a rich man is failing to pay over K30 million he owes former Guardian Newspaper employees’ gratuities a month after the paper had folded up.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one of the disgruntled employees said they were promised by the acting Human Resource Manager, Zilannie Gondwe Nyundo, that they will get their dues in two weeks time but now it is over a month as they keep waiting for President Mutharika to the release their money.

“Nyundo told us, when she was communicating to us about the paper is folding, that we should not worry assuring us that we will get our money within a period of two weeks saying all the due transaction process was completed and they were just waiting for the president to release the money, said the source.

Mutharika: Not paying staff

“She promised us we would get our money in no later than two weeks because the news of the newspaper’s closure caught every employee unaware and therefore it wouldn’t be fair not to pay in good time as that would have serious financial consequences on our part,” added the source.

According to the source, the newspaper’s management paid the employees salaries of January 2012 because they were told, “they were still regarded as employees since they are not yet given letter of termination of their contracts.”

“After that payment, Nyundo and company started playing hide and seek. When contacted, they told some of our friends that they are failing to act since they are also no longer working for the paper.

“When the president visited Galaxy Radio station and the Guardian Newspaper last week, there was no mention of our payment. Up to now, we don’t even know what is going on as the president himself is better placed to answer,” said the source, which upon the closure, left for home village but only comes to the capital to enquire for his dues.

According Nyasa Times findings, Nyundo is still reporting for duties at the office but she is also working for Mutharika’s wife, Callista Mutharika‘s Safe Motherhood foundation which  organized the newly unveiled Women of Distinction Award, an accolade that has been awarded to former dictator Kamuzu Banda’s official hostess, Mama Cecilia Kadzamira.

Guardian Newspapers Limited was entrusted to President Mutharika’s daughter, Duwa to run the paper as a campaign tool for president Mutharika and his DPP stooges but failed to fulfill its mandate as it could not compete with other professionally run papers on the market.
According to another source, one of the former employees, who is a Zimbabwean national, Alban Masola, confronted Nyundo on his payment which he complained that he is being delayed  to return back home to Zimbabwe.

“Masora was supposed to go back to Zimbabwe soon after the closure but has been waiting all along. With nothing on the table, he came to the office swearing at Nyundo.

“Nyundo gave him (Masora) K5000 from her own pocket and pleaded with him to be patient. After some few of us who have remained (accountants and drivers) talked to him, he swallowed his pride and went home,” said the source.

Meanwhile, things have not started well at Bingu’s newly established radio station Galaxy 90.8 fm as it is now the third month the radio has been in operation but nobody has since been paid any salary.

According to reports the workers are not able to complain because they fear to be fired as the boss is so intimidating.

Most of the workers at the Galaxy station are former MBC employees.

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