Malawi Central Medical Stores under pressure to nullify interviews: Corruption

Pressure is mounting on officials at the Central Medical Stores (CMS) to nullify the interviews of data entry clerk held on 12th September 2012 at National College of Information Technology (NACIT) following allegations that some candidates were put at an advantage.

Peter Bwanali of Ministry of Education headquarters who has filed the complaint on behalf of his unnamed friend who attended the interviews is alleging in an emailed traffic copied to Nyasa Timesthat before the interviews some candidates had prior knowledge of what was going to be asked especially those who participated in the similar interviews held in May.

“How on earth one can describe fairness when some candidates knew before hand that there will be Ms Excel exercise, and a hardcopy of drugs descriptions that should be entered exactly in the spreadsheet. These candidates knew this because they had participated in similar interviews of the same organization just 3 months ago,” Bwanali says.

Bwanali says what baffles him is why did the examiners stick to the same nature of interviews when they already knew that they were inviting some candidates who had undergone same interviews a few months ago.

“It is not wrong to invite candidates that had attended interviews earlier but failed, what was wrong is to bring the same practical interviews as this put other candidates at disadvantage. This raises eyebrows. Why inviting same candidates who failed in the same (similar) nature of interviews? And subjecting them to the same interviews, whats the rationale for this? Is this not cheating or corruption?” he queries.

In the email also copied to Anti-corruption Bureau, Ministry of Labour and Office of President and Cabinet among other recipients Bwanali says as a civil servant himself he thinks the best thing would be to nullify the results of the interviews “otherwise we will be denting our image as a corrupt organization”.

He adds: “If a Director of Corporate Services at CMS can’t see the unfairness in this, do you expect this organization to be run effectively and efficiently? No wonder everybody knows whats happening at this institution.”

Responding to the complaints David Nungu says CMS has taken the matter to the Office of President and Cabinet for further investigations.

“I have investigated your allegations and established that the interview was actually not founded on the same exercise that was taken sometime in June 2012 by another group of candidates that responded to the advert in May 2012. Despite that candidates were tested based on common fundamentals. Data in the two tests were different. We do not opine that other candidates had undue advantage over others on account that they already had taken the ‘same’ test in the past.

“However, we have taken note of your suggestion to inform OPC about these interviews and we trust that, if need be, they will conduct an objective investigation into your friend’s allegations. If any independent investigations sustain your friend’s allegations, we will indeed nullify the results of the interviews,” says Nungu.

He says they deliberately involved NACIT as an independent yet professional institution to help with those interviews to ensure transparency.

“Otherwise, successful candidates will attend an oral interview”, he says.

“Finally, we trust that you and your friend will be able to come forward to put a face to your friend’s complaint. Once you come, we will make available to you copies of both the tests herein. I have copied this response to members of the management team, including our Chief Executive Officer”

But Bwanali alleges: “I am told the people who knew the practicals beforehand are students (former students) from the same NACIT you are proud of.”

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