More drama is enfolding at the Malawi National Oil company (Nocma) where government says has fired Hellen Buluma as chief executive officer but in a dramatic twist, a leaked letter says she resigned a day early than her firing letter.
Malawi Government through Board Chair who is also Secretary to the President and Cabinet Ms Collen Zamba cited Ombudsman Grace Malera determination as reasons for the dismissal.
Malaera’s report said former President Peter Mutharika hired her illegally as Deputy Chief Executive Officer since the appointment happened without interviews by Nocma board.
Zamba’s contract termination letter is dated 15th November, a day after Buluma’s resignation letter (14th November).
The development is raising more questions than answers, as Zamba’s action comes barely two weeks after she and the NOCMA board maintained Buluma in defiance of the Ombudsman order for her firing.
Zamba says the Board has followed a fresh legal legal advice from the Attorney General that the determination of the Ombudsman has to be complied with.
In her four-paged letter, Buluma attributes her decision to pressure from Board Chair Zamba, Ministry of Energy Principal Secretary Alfonso Chikuni and other officials to find other fuel suppliers through ‘dubious means’ such as circumventing procurement rules.
Buluma writes: “….after serious consideration and taking into account the immense pressure that I have faced over the past recent months from yourself [Board Chair Ms Colleen Zamba], the Principal Secretary responsible for Energy, Mr Alfonso Chikuni and others to bring new suppliers through dubious means and in some instances expensive fuel financiers including the following:
1. Confluence Asset management Holding PTE Limited – US$250 million fuel financing
2. 700 SA Oil and Gas – 40,000MT monthly each product (value$40 million per month)
3. GY and Sons Holdings – supply of 40,000MT of both diesel and petrol each
4. Dalitso General Dealers
5. And others which the PS responsible for Energy solicited.”
Energy Secretary Alfonso Chikuni has said he is not aware of the resignation.
Kondwani Nankhumwa, Leader of the Opposition in Parliament said there was need for responsible Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola to clarify for Malawians to know truth of the matter on Buluma.