MaBLEM defends its request to have Ombudsman probed over Buluma recruitment determination

Malawi Civil Society Led Black Economic Empowerment Movement (MaBLEM) has defended its request to the Parliamentary Public Appointments Committee (PAC) to have Ombudsman Grace Malera probed over the way she handled the inquiry into the recruitment of Ms. Hellen Buluma at National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA).

On November 2, 2022, MaBLEM wrote PAC Chairperson Joyce Chitsulo, copying the Secretary to the President and Cabinet, requesting the Committee to investigate the Ombudsman for alleged gross misconduct in handling the inquiry on allegations of unprocedural and irregular recruitment of Buluma as Deputy Chief Executive Officer for NOCMA and the chairpersonship of the Secretary to the President and Cabinet of
various parastatal boards.

Fryson Chodzi

In the letter, which Nyasa Times has seen, the movement’s chairperson Robert Mkwezalamba and his national coordinator, Fryson Chodzi, argue that Ombudsman Grace Tikambenji Malera erred by investigating the matter while knowing fully well that both matters were before the courts.

Mkwezalamba and Chodzi further argue that the NOCMA Board was not given the right to be heard, which undermines the rules of natural justice.

“During the public inquiry where Ms. Buluma was summoned to make submissions, she openly raised concerns that the Ombudsman was compromised and was being influenced through involvement by big fuel haulage transporters who wanted NOCMA to use ex-tank so that they can continue collecting brokerage fees, which is charged to the pump price. We also note a deliberate omission of this fact in the released report by the Ombudsman on the matter,” reads part of the letter to PAC.

However, some members of the society felt uncomfortable with the request to have Ombudsman investigated over her determination on Buluma’s recruitment.

They condemned MaBLEM for alleged overstepping of its mandate. However, in its press statement released on Friday afternoon, Mkwezalamba and Chodzi have defended their action, stating that their position was misquoted or misunderstood by some quarters of the society.

They have highlighted key challenges, which they say have necessitated their writing to PAC.

“The Ombudsman, while acknowledging in her determination the fact that similar matters were before the courts i.e. Criminal case no 934 of 2021 and Civil case no: 121 of 2022, she nevertheless proceeded to make determinations on the same thereby rendering and undermining the ongoing court cases through her determination.

“We noted that her determination gravely faulted the NOCMA Board both the previous, and
current but made no attempts to invite them to be heard on the allegations before making or releasing her determination,” reads the statement in part.

Mkwezalamba and Chodzi further highlight that an allegation that the whole investigation was influenced by fuel transporters and other politicians with interests and that the Ombudsman was being induced by some of a certain grouping was never highlighted in her determination
report neither did she challenge it when it was raised.

“We are aware that there is a lot going on under the procurement and supply of fuel in Malawi as NOCMA has highly opted for DDU method of procuring fuel as opposed to Ex-tank system which is costing Malawians Billions but being preferred because it has a chain of beneficiaries that are milking Malawians.

“It is clear some of her determinations have serious impact on the Laws of Malawi i.e. the Constitution on the rights of workers and mandate of NOCMA versus that of Ombudsman as well as Employment Act among others on the rights and entitlements employees have,” they stress.

Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :

Sharing is caring!

Follow us in Twitter
Read previous post:
Chakwera tees off Thanksgiving Tournament in honour of military veterans

President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera on Friday morning teed off a Thanksgiving Tournament in honour of military veterans with an appeal...