Galaxy FM risks losing broadcasting licence in Malawi, warns MACRA

The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has given Galaxy FM radio station 14 days to resume transmission or else have its licence revoked.

The Lilongwe-based radio station, owned by Duwa Mutharika Mubaira, daughter to former Malawi President late Bingu wa Mutharika has been off-air for over a month due to accrued debts to various firms including MACRA.

A senior employee at Galaxy FM confided in Nyasa Times that the regulatory body summoned Mutharika-Mubaira some few days ago where she was asked to justify why her radio was not on air.

The source said Mutharika-Mubaira failed to present convincing reasons to the officials prompting them to give the station 14-days to get back on air or have the licence revoked.

Nsaliwa: MACRA boss warns Galaxy
Nsaliwa: MACRA boss warns Galaxy

“At first she was given five days, she failed to bring it back on air before being summoned for the second time where she was handed a 14-day ultimatum after presenting unsatisfactory reasons as to why the station is still not operating,” said the source on conditions of anonymity.

According to Nyasa Times investigations, the station owes several institutions as well as its employees huge sums of money in salary arrears.

It also owes a South African based firm Lodgical Wireless that provides the station with satellite services millions of kwachas as transmission bills.

Meanwhile, majority of Galaxy FM employees were reportedly hired without contracts, a development that has put the workers in an awkward position as they are failing to sue the station.

Just a few individuals particularly those that were hired between July and August 2012 like former MBC radio presenter Elizabeth Nkuta popularly known as “Big Mama”, Dickson Chivwati Gondwe formerly of MIJ FM, Thomas Psyata and Diana Liabuba did sign their contracts.

In the interim, reports indicate that the former president’s daughter is set to restructure top management at the station once it resumes transmission.

Some of the employees likely to face the chop include Station Manager, Alfred Banda, Financial Controller, Tausi Mtupanyama, and acting Head of Marketing, Temwa Msyali who are being accused of mismanagement of company funds.

Galaxy FM, the country’s sole privately owned radio to transmit through satellite, got its broadcasting licence during Mutharika’s regime and was launched just few weeks before his sudden death.

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