Pempho Likongwe, one of the Board Members of the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA), has resigned following revelations that he secretly informed one of the eight (8) candidates about the outcome of the interviews for MERA Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
In his resignation letter dated 15th January, 2021, addressed to the Comptroller of Statutory Corporations, and copied to the Chairperson, Public Appointments Committee of Parliament, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Chairman, Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority, the Chief Executive Officer and the Company Secretary, MERA, Likongwe conveys “profound gratitude to the State President (Lazarus Chakwera) for appointing him to the MERA Board of Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA)”. But he says, regrettably, by the turn of events, he has resigned from the Board of MERA.
“The events leading to my resignation are that Mr Richard Chapwetéka was my friend, having worked with him in the Presidential Elections case. He attended interviews for the position of Chief Executive Officer of MERA. Before the results were released, the State President appointed Mr Chapweteka a Commissioner of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC). From my circles, I heard that Mr Chapweteka was going to turn down the appointment as MEC Commissioner because he was going to be appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MERA. I am a practicing Christian and I live by Christian values. One of the two great Commandments in the Holy Bible is “Love your neighbour as yourself”.
“I knew that at that time Mr Chapweteka was jobless and needed a job to help him financially. At the same time, I knew from my Board Membership of MERA that Mr Chapweteka had not performed well in the interviews for MERA CEO and was not going to be appointed MERA CEO.
“As a Christian, I saw that my brother was on the verge of making a big blunder that would hurt him financially for many years to come. I had in my hands the power to help my brother by advising him to accept the appointment as MEC Commissioner,” writes counsel Likongwe.
He claims that with the aim of helping a brother, he contacted Chapweteka and advised him not to decline the appointment as MEC Commissioner because doing so would embarrass the appointing authority, the State President, and that he might not be the successful candidate in the interviews for MERA CEO.
“Mr Chapweteka took my advice and he changed his decision and accepted appointment as MEC Commissioner. He is currently reaping the benefits of my advice.
“However, Mr Chapweteka decided to report me to the Ombudsman. I have accepted that I did wrong by informing Mr Chapweteka that he might not be the successful candidate in the MERA CEO interviews before the results were formally released. I sincerely regret this.
“Whilst I was driven by my Christian values, I realize that legally I was not supposed to do that. I apologise to the appointing authority, the Public Appointments Committee (who confirmed my appointment), the MERA Chairman and MERA Board Members for letting them down on this issue.
“At the same time, I must say that the only things I told Mr Chapweteka are the two points mentioned above. However, Mr Chapweteka added a lot of lies before the Ombudsman. If one reads the leaked Ombudsman’s Report to the end (pages 69 to 70), it is seen that the Ombudsman found that Mr Chapweteka was lying,” reads the resignation letter in part.
Likongwe says whatever the circumstances, he believes that the only honourable thing to do for his indiscretion of telling Chapweteka that he might not be the successful candidate was to resign from the Board.
“I am therefore resigning as a Board Member of MERA with immediate effect. I wish the remaining Board Members of MERA all the best as they regulate the energy sector in Malawi. I wish to thank the appointing authority and the Public Appointments Committee for giving me the opportunity to serve on the MERA Board,” concludes the letter.
On Wednesday, 10 November, 2021, the Office of Ombudsman (OoO) released findings that Henry Kachaje’s appointment as MERA CEO, following interviews held last August, was irregular and has ordered the MERA Board to cancel that appointment. The Ombudsman claimed that Kachaje’s employment cancellation was based on his under-qualification as he does not hold a Master’s Degree, the minimum requirement for that position.
Commissioner Chapweteka was one of the complainants who petitioned the Ombudsman. MERA has since sought a court injunction restraining the Ombudsman from publishing its findings, officially, although the report is already in the public domain. The Ombudsman is challenging the injunction.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :