The High Court in Lilongwe has set February 23 for the hearing of judicial review of Ombudsman’s ruling that faulted recruitment of Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) Chief Executive Officer, Henry Kachaje.
Ombudsman Grace Malera — while confirming that the judicial review case comes in court this month — ruled last year that Kachaje’s appointment as MERA CEO was irregular and ordered its cancellation.
The cancellation was based on Section 126 of the Constitution that provides that ‘where the investigations of the Ombudsman reveal sufficient evidence to satisfy him or her that an injustice has been done, the Ombudsman shall direct that appropriate administrative action be taken to redress the grievance; cause the appropriate authority to ensure that there are, in future, reasonably practicable remedies to redress a grievance; and refer a case to the Director of Public Prosecutions with a recommendation for prosecution”.
But MERA took injunction against Ombudsman’s announcement of her determination — thus the judicial review in which the court will scrutinize the processes leading to her determination.
Initially, MERA had obtained an injunction against the publication of the Ombudsman’s investigation report on the alleged flouting of recruitment procedures on Kachaje but a leaked report faulted the MERA Board for the unprocedural recruitment of Kachaje and ordered withdraw of his contract.
The Kachaje saga followed the resignation of MERA board member, Pempho Likongwe soon after Richard Chapweteka dragged Likongwe’s name in the Kachaje case during the hearing before the Ombudsman.
It came to the surface that Chapweteka — who had attended the interviews for the post of MERA CEO — had testified at the Ombudsman accusing Likongwe of revealing the results of the interviews before they were officially announced.
Before the results of the interviews were released, Chapweteka was appointed by President Lazarus Chakwera as Commissioner for Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), prompting Likongwe to inform Chapweteka not to turn down his appointment because he was not going to be picked as MERA CEO as he “had not performed well and was not going to be appointed”.
In his resignation letter to the Comptroller of Statutory Corporations dated November 15, 2021, Likongwe confessed that he did reveal that Chapweteka failed the interviews and had tried to save his ‘friend’ as at that time Chapweteka was jobless.
After several testimonies that the Ombudsman received that included Chapweteka’s, the Ombudsman ruled that Kachaje’s appointment as MERA CEO was irregular and ordered its cancellation.
But the Ombudsman’s Report also indicated that Chapweteka lied during the hearing where claimed that he was deliberately given low marks despite performing well during the interviews.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :