Despite her ‘personal liaisons’ with National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA) acting Chief Executive Officer Helen Buluma, Minister of Foreign Affairs Eisenhower Mkaka has said he cannot go against President Lazarus Chakwera instructions to “address the anomaly” of appointing Buluma as acting CEO and it has been releaved that she will not be sacked because she gave a ‘good contract’ to Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) Zangazanga Chikhosi.
Mkaka wrote on his Facebook page: “Who am I to go against the President?”
But then Nyasa Times has been offered information that Buluma offered Chikhosi US$10 per barrel of fuel that Nocma will be importing into the country and SPC agreed.
“This is why even though President Chakwera directed Chikhosi to fire Buluma, she will not be fired, that will not happen. Chikhosi as board chairman of Nocma will do anything to protect his interests,” said the top source.
Buluma was made acting CEO after Nocma boss Gift Dulla was suspended pending investigations into some financial mismanagement at State-owned company. Both Dulla and Buluma were just hand-picked by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime to be bosses at Nocma, they never underwent any competitive interviews.
President Chakwera fumed last week over Buluma’s appointment as Acting CEO at Nocma and directed Chikhosi to ‘address the anomaly’ but Chikhosi has not been moved an inch.
On Friday, Human Rights Defenders Commission (HRDC) has asked the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) to investigate allegations in which fuel amounting to K45 billion evaporated at Nocma.
HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence told reporters at a news conference that it was absurd to lose huge sums worth of fuel costing due to rampant corrupt practices which has engulfed Nocma.
“The President was specific with his instructions that also the acting Director of NOCMA should be relieved from duties after a public outcry on her performance but that has not happened as of now.
“There are also concerns from management and staff which requires urgent attention from the government as most of the staff are not working and this might blow a heavy impact on our economy,” he said.
Trapence lamented that foreign companies transport almost 80% of the fuel used in Malawi and as such he urged NOCMA to use local companies when transporting the commodity.
“We want NOCMA to utilize our own local companies when transporting fuel. It is our wish that 80% of the companies should be local companies while 20% of the remaining companies should be international,” he added.
HRDC executive member, Reverend Macdonald Sembereka, concurred with Trapence, saying NOCMA should suspend the current tenders that companies have already bid to supply fuel.
“We are aware that the Director of Finance was suspended, so currently there is no management. We are imploring the board of NOCMA and government in particular the Ministry of Energy to ensure they suspend current float tender.
“Actually, the tendering process of transportation should not be allocated to individual bidders but awarded to those who come as a block so that at least the risk is spread, rather than dumping a risk in one company,” said Sembereka.
He said NOCMA Board should make sure that the tendering process is re-advertised at the earliest time possible once there is clear set management at NOCMA.
Sembereka further talked about the way fuel is procured whereby there is Duty Delivered Unpaid, where the supplier uses on transport to deliver fuel and Extant whereby fuel is paid according to how it is consumed at a particular time.
He highlighted that Extant process of buying fuel is the best as the level of consuming fuel depends on availability of money of the one purchasing the fuel.
Meanwhile, Malawi News has reported that the country is losing about $16.2 million (about K12 billion) annually through importing fuel using the Delivered Duty Unpaid (DDU) system being used Nocma.
The paper said its investigations conducted from the start of 2020 have revealed that by opting for the DDU system, the country’s transporters are being suffocated of $21 million (about K15.75 billion) worth of business which goes to foreign transporters.
According to a DDU Commercial Invoice from Sahara Energy Resources DMCC to Nocma dated March 15, 2020 cited by the paper, the supplier was charging $260.93 per tonne of diesel to Blantyre via the Beira route which is $85.93 higher per tonne.
Sahara was also charging $310.66 per tonne to supply diesel to Lilongwe via the Dar es Salaam route which was $100.66 higher than ex-tank.
That is to say, DDU was seen to be higher than an average of about $90 per tonne.
With Nocma importing an average of 180,000 metric tonnes of fuel per annum, the analysis revealed that Malawi was paying $16.2 million more per annum or K12 billion for opting DDU.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :