Malawi Parastatal CEOs and senior officers beware: Resist forces of evil

This week we learned from the media that the board of State produce trader, the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) has fired chief executive officer (CEO) Foster Mulumbe and director of operations Feckson Kantonga for their alleged role in the Zambia maize saga.

Suspended Admarc CEO Foster Mulumbe: Verdict is out, guilty as charged

Betty Mahuka: She resisted evil and quit

The reports quoted unnamed, but corroborated, sources that the board made the decision to dismiss the two at a meeting it heard in Lilongwe on Wednesday. The decision to fire the two followed the board’s special task force which probed the duo following recommendations of two commissions of inquiry into the controversial Zambia maize imports.

My warning to the country’s parastatal CEOs now as I did in December 2016, is that they should resist the forces of evil that are always knocking on their door. What they should know is that when they succumb to evil, they will not always be protected. Someone said you can’t kill an elephant and expect the whole village not to know. Things have changed.

It is their names that will be dragged in the mud. When they are being forced to do some corrupt practices they should always be mindful that it is them, and their families that will suffer the consequences should the scheme bungle.

Lucky if the culprits are protected as is the case with those involved in the K577 billion graft case now reduced to K236 billion. For now, the companies and individuals involved are still being protected. But it is only a matter of time that the fortieth day will come. And I wish to state here that the alleged culprits don’t have a free conscience.

The people who are luring you into corruption will be looking away when the noose starts tightening around your neck. At the very worst, they will wash their hands clean. I have a strong suspicion that this is what has been happening not only in Admarc but also in many other parastatals. Someone must have promised those officers protection in a bigger scheme which is yet to be known. Otherwise, why did government and the board have to be prodded to suspend the Admarc bosses for their acts in the deal?

It did not have to take the whole country to scream against the alleged corrupt deal by the Admarc officials for the board to suspend the Admarc boss and pave the way for investigations in alleged underhand dealings in the purchase of maize from Zambia at a dizzying $35.4 million (K26 billion), that have now led to dismissal.

Apart from the Zambian maize imports, Admarc has again earned a bad name over the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) K2.9 billion Price Stabilisation Fund maize deal. Mera used K2.9 billion to purchase maize for sale in Admarc markets. But Admarc has said it will only pay back K1.9 billion. It is a known fact that many parastatals are abused but the rot at Admarc is so sickening. There is need for an independent audit at Admarc to establish what happened to the missing K1 billion. The firing of the two officers should not be the end of the story.

Admarc’s image as a corporate entity is now tattered and its board now has a colossal task of sprucing up the corporation’s image. The individuals alleged in the scam also have to clean up their names. What’s the benefit?

That is why I will forever commend former Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) finance director Bettie Mahuka for refusing to be part and parcel of underhand dealings when she opted to resign from her position rather than betray her conscience. Mahuka refused to be a signatory to some cheques that would have seen billions of money leaving Escom in payments she felt were unmerited.

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4 thoughts on “Malawi Parastatal CEOs and senior officers beware: Resist forces of evil”

  1. Rift Valley says:

    THE PARASTATAL CEO’s DILEMA.

    He is invariably a professional who, if left to utilize his/her skills to translate the Organisation’s Board approved strategy into action, would efficiently utilise available resources to achieve the desired returns for the benefit of the stakeholders who, in most cases include government.

    But, alas, there are forces preying on the officer. He has a family to look after. A child has to continue with university education at a private institution and the only source of finance is employment. The officer must weigh his/ her options.

    He can stand his ground and risk non renewal of his contract or bend to the whims of the politicians in the hope that things will work out anyway. Depending on where he comes from, he may be posted elsewhere if the going eventually got tough. However, that would be the end of the road for some

  2. Ndithu says:

    Woyenda ndi lupanga, adzafa ndi lupanga lomwelo. To God be the glory for His words still live. I urge those who pray and believe that God exists to keep on praying for Malawi. Ngati kuli kukonda, Ambuye awakondesetse awa okonda chuma kuposa anthu amzawo kuti akapumule. Amen

  3. Mika Kumbire says:

    Stevie Nhlane; Your article is timely but you should have gone further to prescribe what the CEOs should do to ensure that they make independent decisions. Comparing Mahuka to other CEOs could be unfair due to differing circumstances. Bettie has financial independence and stability since her late husband; himself a former CEO; left Bettie very comfortable financially. As advocate Dali Mpofu had correctly put in a constitutional court recently. We are all human beings and we have our own fears; and indeed we need protection. Even yourself Stevie; you were a hard hitting journalist during your days at Nation; but your tune and tone significantly changed when you were appointed into an influential position by the former DPP government. Colonel “brother leader” Gaddaffi once told the gathering of the “Non-align Countries” that the organization was too poor to be independent or non aligned. Mulumbe and Kantonga may have children in overseas schools; they were living in ADMARC Houses; and driving institutional cars. And as you maybe aware in our country; if you employ one person you employ the entire community. Sometimes, you think of all the people who are going suffer if you decided to quit your job. And this becomes extremely tough if the governance institutions are not there to protect principled people. As politicians will put it; we don’t eat principles. It will always be tough for principled as long as they remain vulnerable!! Not all CEOs could be stupid. Most times these CEOs and all other government officials have tough decisions to make.

  4. Joseph Banda says:

    Stevie, Good articles, BUT, BUT, BUT, why have you intelligently failed to cite
    CASHGATE, because munali nkhonde mwa Power kumamwa nawo SOUP.
    Always be honest.

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