Nsaliwa booted at Macra over ‘spy machine’

Beleaguered former Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) Director General Charles Nsaliwa was removed from his position at Macra last week after reports that he was championing the implementation of  the most feared gadget Consolidated ICT Regulatory Management System known as  ‘spy machine’ which was stopped by the Courts.

Inside sources confided to Nyasa Times that Nsaliwa approached some top government officials including some ministers to ‘revive and implement the installation of the spy machine’.

“He has been canvassing for the spy machine too much and others wondered why he was pushing for this, what special interest he had in this machine and that was when it was decided that he should be posted to ministry of information as a Technical officer,” said the source.

Nsaliwa:  Championing spy machine for personal aggrandsiment
Nsaliwa: Championing spy machine for personal aggrandsiment

Another top government officer alleged that Nsaliwa got a huge kickback of US$400,000 from Rawlvan Bennet from Agilis International where Macra bought the equipment at a whooping US$6.8 million.

“This gentleman also came to Malawi last year to see how they can implement the project and Nsaliwa personally drove him to the airport and arranged some highly important meeting with members of the then ruling PP,” said the official.

The spy machine sent shivers to most Malawians after revelations that the machine can record private conversations apart from checking revenue being generated by mobile service providers.

The courts ruled against the implementation of the machine, saying CIRMS has the potential of being abused to eavesdrop telecommunication conversation without the user’s knowledge.

The two applicants, Hophmally Makande and Eric Sabwera sought legal redress on the matter in their capacity as mobile phone users and had argued to the court through their attorney Lusungu Gondwe of Ralph & Arnolds that they feared for their privacy in an event the spy machine is implemented.

Macra was being represented by Kalekeni Kaphale who is now the Attorney General.

The spy machine was the centre of altercation between late Bingu wa Mutharika’s regime on one hand and opposition parties and civil society groups on the other.

Nsaliwa’s tenure at Macra has been dodged with several vices like recruitment of his daughter and his close friend in a project without following proper procedure and the acquisition of his official Toyota Prado at a heavily discounted price of K1 million from K10 million.

He has since been replaced by Postmaster General Andrew Kumbatira.

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