Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) board has sent on force leave CEO Ralph Kamoto and finance director following the investigations on to divert K2.964 billion from the Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF) to buy maize for Admarc.
AccordIng to Mera board vicechairperson Felisia Kilembe , Kamoto has been sent on forced leave together with director of finance Elias Hausi.
Welton Saiwa , who is director of electricity and renewable energy is now acting Mera CEO.
Kilembe clarified that Kamoto and Hausi have not been suspended but that they have been sent on leave “to pay the way for investigations.”
The Mera board on 24 February 2016 resolved to purchase 10 000 metric tonnes of maize at a cost of K2.964 billion to be sent to Admarc for sale in its markets, according to a letter dated 25 February 2016 from Mera to Secretary to Treasury and copied to Chief Secretary, Office of the President and Cabinet and Mera board chair Dingiswayo Jere.
But Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe said the decision was illegal and disclosed that the matter was being investigated, claiming Treasury did not authorise the payment .
Under the Public Finance Management Act, government has no mandate to use money without the authorisation of Parliament except in very special cases.
The PSF is an account that accumulates funds from fuel sales meant to cushion any rises in fuel products that would raise inflation.
According to Kilembe, Mera has not yet refunded the money in the PSF as ordered by Treasury.
Kamoto and Hausi could not immediately comment.