Competition and Fair Trading Board cry foul over smear campaigns

It has emerged that accusations of “unnecessary meetings and spending” levelled against the board of the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC), are actually false and well coordinated smear campaign against the board by two disgruntled managers within CFTC.

The media reported on Saturday that the CFTC board has had over 17 meetings in 17 months since it was constituted and spent MK77 million, which “some staff” say has “deprived the commission of some money meant for operations”.

Innocent Helema

CFTC board, going by the CFTC Act, was supposed to have around five meetings in that period, spending around MK22.8 million.

But a CFTC member of staff, speaking on condition of anonymity, has accused two managers and a worker at Statutory Corporations, who sits on the CFTC board, for inciting a smear campaign against the board because the two managers are disgruntled after they were disciplined over some misconducts.

And when we asked one of the board members, he justified the meetings and spending, saying they were necessary and inevitable, for the board needed to finish on time the many disciplinary hearings involving some members of staff and other proceedings including the Airtel saga and the Movesa and the Goodwill and MASM funeral cases, just to mention a few.

“The board conducted disciplinary hearings involving former CFTC Chief Executive Officer James Kaphale and other top management officials. It was actually the two managers who blew the whistle to the board against Kaphale and others, which lead to their dismissal late last year. The two managers, more especially one of them did this, hoping that the board would make her become a director.

However, in course of the hearings, the board ordered for an audit, which implicated the two managers (the whistle blowers) in misconducts bordering on incompetence and negligence towards procurements and loan disbursements. The board also disciplined the two managers, but did not fire them. Apparently, the Statutory Corporations worker sitting on the CFTC Board, was leaking to the two managers everything the board discussed, which made the board to restrict him from attending its meetings, since he is not a member but just a representative,” disclosed the source.

The source went on to say that the two managers are disgruntled for being disciplined following the audit report, more especially the one who was expecting that she would be made a director. The two, according to the source, publicly vowed to finish the board of CFTC.

“Hence, among other things, they are putting these cooked up stories in the media, hiding behind the banner of staff, yet they are only two. They want to make the current CFTC board appear as if it is incompetent and wasteful so that it is removed. But I doubt if this can happen. This board is very competent.

“Just look at the current fair trade determinations at CFTC. So many of them and in the interest and satisfaction of the public. This board is really ticking. They found a debt of MK200 million. They settled all that. Within a year, CFTC made revenue in excess of MK2.3 billion, some of the money coming from the Airtel saga and other cases,” the source said.

Efforts to speak to the Board Chairperson and Acting CEO for CFTC proved futile as their phones could not be reached.

Commenting on the 17 meetings and draining of resources, the media quoted CFTC Board Chairperson, Jerry Jana, as only saying that “he knew the issues were coming from within the organization and that they are sensitive”.

Media responses by CFTC Spokesperson, Innocent Helema, seemed to agree with our anonymous source, justifying the extra meetings. But he was quick to add that the trends would not be repeated this year.

“The extra meetings last year were necessitated by investigations and disciplinary proceedings into allegations of misconducts by some members of management. This is not and will not be the case this year,” Helema was quoted as saying.

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1 year ago

How disgruntled are the members, and really, how are these smear allegations when the meetings and expenses in the so called disgruntled reports are exactly the same?

I think what was right for them is to justify the expenses, and not brush them aside. Mist importantly, how do you justify an expenses shooting 🔫 to mk77 millions for 17 meetings?

Anthu akukweza mitengo yakatundu mosaziwika bwino yet this institution is there,and all they can do is get busy with within the organization witch hunting….these people need serious leadership mentoring.

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