Nsaliwa in Malawi’s 4th cellphone license scam, illegal perks: Mulli’s Celcom probed

Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) Director General Charles Nsaliwa is said to have breached rules and procedures when he chaired a management evaluation meeting for the award of mobile phone licences which was eventually given to once might and powerful business magnate during the former regime Leston Ted Mulli.

A dossier of revelations of under-dealings at the regulatory body which has been sent to Macra board of directors and some top government officials reveals that instead of letting his officers handle the evaluation, Nsaliwa took it upon himself to do the evaluations and eventually awarded the licence to Celcom which is owned by Mulli.

“The circumstances in which Mr. Leston Mulli was awarded a licence and his close relationship with the DG needs to be probed. In breach of procedure and good corporate governance, the DG himself chaired a management evaluation meeting, when this is supposed to be done by his juniors who then report to him,” reads the dossier in part.

Nsaliwa: MACRA boss faces abuse of office charges

“Secondly when the licence was given, he connived with Mr. Mulli so that Celcom should not pay any licence fees. Cheques for fees amounting to K16, 000, 000.00 were just kept in his drawers and not deposited and yet receipts were written to cheat government that Mulli had paid.“This cheque and subsequent cheques were later locked in a drawer of a junior who was instructed not to deposit until further orders from DG. As a result of this financialmalpractice the CELCOM had an accumulated outstanding amount of MK220, 000, 000 as at the time of the former President’s demise, thus over a year later,” adds the dossier.

“MACRA’s serialized receipt books, cash flows and Mulli’s cheques will clearly show this unprofessional misconduct that seriously affected MACRA and government’s cash flows. It is false accounting and fraudulent conduct,” reads the dossier.

Illegal allowances

The dossier also contain information that Nsaliwa paid himself allowances that are outside his contract.

“The DG of MACRA is entitled to a clean wage salary of MK1, 200, 000.00 and fuel allocation of 500 litres. He is not entitled to cell phone or other allowances just as was the case with his predecessors. Sometime on 8th April, 2011, the DG instructed his accounts department to start paying him cell-phone allowances on cheque no. 9222 in the amount MK100, 000. 00.

“On the same day he further instructed the accounts staff to issue cell-phone allowances arrears for 15 months effective 9th December 2009 to 28th February 2011 at MK100,000.00 per month totalling MK1,500,000.00 which was netted off by MK129,537.00 bill which was settled directly from Macra coffers,” reads the dossier.

“He has been getting this allowance since then, currently totalling over MK3, 000, 000.00.This allowance was not authorized by Statutory Corporations in consultation with OPC Human Resources Management or the Board of MACRA. It is an unlawful payment,” reads the dossier in part.

The whistle blowers said they sent the information to the previous board and government but no action was taken.

It is said that the previous board of directors for Macra was so soft on Nsaliwa because of his relationship with Mulli who controlled it through his connections at state house.

The previous board was chaired by Ted Nandolo, who was an influential figure in the Mulhakho wa Ahlomwe where the late President Bingu Mutharika was patron.

“Please kindly note that these issues have been brought to the attention of the previous and current board but to date, we are not sure whether any action has been taken to ensure that we put such malpractices to a stop and thereby safeguarding the country’sresources,” concludes the dossier.

Head of Criminal Investigations Department in Malawi Police Service (MPS) Bob Mtekama confirmed that they are investigating issues raised in the dossier.

Nsaliwa is also accused of being involved in dubious procurement vices.

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