Katopola to appear in court Wednesday to take plea

Beleaguered Clerk of Parliament Matilda Katopola will appear at the Lilongwe Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday to take plea in connection with her abuse of office case.

The Nyasa Times first reported that Katopola was involved in a scandal in which her company dubiously bought materials to the National Assembly, a procurement which should not have happened because of conflict of interest.

The National Assembly awarded a contract to Katopola’s company called Monick Trends to provide colour photocopying and binding services for a launch of Parliament’s Strategic Plan, a development described as inappropriate by former Director of Public Procurement Bright Mangulama.

Katopola: Acced of abuse of office

Monick Trends, whose records at the Registrar of Companies, show was registered on May 3, 2006, with Matilda Marcia Katopola, nee Zande as sole proprietor, on September 6, 2007, issued an invoice of K86,997 for the colour photocopying and binding services it rendered to Parliament.

Anti-Corruption Bureau failed to probe the matter until today because its director Alex Nampota recused himself as Katopola was his close relative.

Malawi Law Society faulted Nampota for recusing himself before authorising the probe.

Parliamentary Service Commission recommended the firing of Katopola but the then president late Bingu wa Mutharika challenged the decision and reinstated her.

Mutharika played God by pardoning her without her being brought before the courts of Malawi to clear her name. The late president had argued that the figure involved was too small to warrant her dismissal.

Political victimisation
Katopola was arrested and charged for abuse of office and she is currently on bail.

She, however, believes the arrest is a tactic to harass her out of the National Assembly job and deprive her of appropriate compensation.

Katopola also calls her case as “politically motivated” to victimise her.

The trained lawyer also claims she is living in fear for her life.

But source at Capital Hill in Lilongwe say she was offered a promotion to the High Court judges bench which she turned down.

Bills signed

In a bid to fight back the system, Katopola refused to certify and send to the President for assent bills that Parliament passed in the last Budget Meeting.

But Nyasa Times understand that Deputy Clerk of Parliament for Parliamentary Services Henry Njolomole has signed the Bills and have been sent to President Joyce Banda for assent to operationalise the 2012/13 budget and other bills which are crucial to opening of aid taps closed partly because of governance concerns in the Mutharika regime.

Obscene benefits

Katopola laid on herself obscene benefits including her two kids who are at the Kamuzu academy being paid by the National Assembly.

She is the only Principal Secretary to be assigned a police officer as her bodyguard.

Besides a secretary, she has a redundant post of a personal assistant she hired three years ago with a diploma and gave her the P7 grade.

She has a fleet of five parliament motor vehicles handy and mostly parked at her home in area 47 Sector 4 in Lilongwe.

Authoritarianism management

One of the people who carried out Bingu wa Mutharika’s whims was Katopola who machinated her critics into abrupt resignations first of which was political science PhD holder Henry Chingaipe, who was at the time she came to the National Assembly in 2006 a brilliant principal research officer.

Her only deputy Stanislaus Chissanu fell victim after she stressed him to his early grave in April this year during the mourning period of the Mutharika demise.

Katopola authorized close to K400,000 for the funeral of Chissanu who had already been sacked from parliament. The National Audit office is yet to raise  an audit query on spending.

Employees who chose never to quit of out her tyranny were warehoused in the same manner Bingu had warehoused some Principal Secretaries  who crossed paths with him in Kang’ombe building in Lilongwe.

And Nyasa Times was also a victim of Katopola as she ordered the online publication to be blocked at the National Assembly. Is has since been unblocked.

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