Double standards at OPC as ACB advices govt against recruitment –Malawi News

The Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) is playing double standards in the employment of two top senior public officers within the government system who were both arrested and cleared of corruption charges, according to a report in the Malawi News.

Former Secretary to the Treasury Milton Kutengule and former Principal of Natural Resources College (NRC) Feston Kaupa were investigated, arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), taken to court and had their cases dismissed.

The weekly reorted that  while Kaupa is now working as Chief Executive Officer of the Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST), government has refused to reinstate Kutengule ostensibly because ACB appealed against the dismissal of his case. But ACB also appealed against Kaupa’s acquittal.

ACB Senior Public Relations Officer Egrita Ndala has since distanced the corruption-busting body from the double standards accusations in these cases.

Hawa Ndilowe: Chief Secretary to Government  at OPC
Hawa Ndilowe: Chief Secretary to Government at OPC

“It (ACB) does not apply double standards in handling its matters,” she said in an e-mailed response to the paper. “It follows principles.”

But Ndala confirmed that the ACB has appealed against the acquittals in “the Republic versus Kutengule and the Republic versus Kaupa” cases on what she called legal grounds.

She, however, said when it learnt that Kaupa was to be recruited as CEO at CMST, the bureau advised government that in view of the on-going case against him-which is related to procurement issues-it would be improper to proceed with the recruitment at that stage.

“As you have rightly observed, the recruitment proceeded regardless,” said Ndala.

With regard to Kutengule’s case, Ndala said the bureau has only advised government that there is an appeal against the former Treasury boss’ acquittal.

Chief Secretary to the government Hawa Ndilowe referred the matter to Principal Secretary responsible for Human Resource Management and Development Sam Madula.

Madula confirmed that ACB advised OPC against recruiting Kaupa but declined to comment further, referring the matter to deputy Chief Secretary to Government Willie Samute.

He nonetheless said government does not apply double standards in recruitment issues.

On February 9, 2013 the High Court in Blantyre discharged Kutengule who was on interdiction following failure by the ACB to prosecute him seven years after his arrest in October 2005.

Soon after the ruling Kutengule’s lawyer, Kalekeni Kaphale told the media that the discharge means that government has to reinstate him in the civil service and pay his salary and benefits in arrears.

Kutengule was arrested for alleged abusing K20 million when he opened a credit scheme account at the now-defunct Finance Bank of Malawi.

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