By Antony Isaiah Jr:…
The report by the Umbudsman has faulted the former State President, Professor Authur Peter Mutharika on Helen Buluma’s recruitment as the deputy Chief Executive Officer of the National Oil Company (NOCMA).
Umbudsman Grace Malera made the remarks in Lilongwe on Friday when releasing investigation and inquiry determination on allegations of unprocedural and irregular recruitment of Buluma.
According to Malera, the appointment of Buluma was arbitrary arguing that it was a directive by the Head of State, Professor Authur Peter Mutharika in September 2019.
Malera said according the Investigations of Umbudsman, Buluma did not apply for the post of Deputy Chief Executive Officer at National Oil Company but has the requisite skills and qualifications for the post and the position of the Deputy Chief Executive Officer did not exist and it was created to accommodate her.
She admitted that the appointment of Buluma had to be done by the board of the National Oil Company rather than by the President.
“The recruitment and appointment process proudly section 4 of the Public Services Act which provides that entry and advancements of the public services shall be on the basis of the merit and among other things, that Merit shall be established through open and competitive recruitment process.
“The evidence that is before me shows that there was no openess and there was no competitive process that was followed because the position was not advertised and interviews were not held,” said Malera.
Malera has directed that the government of Malawi through the Attorney General, Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda and Ministry of Justice should review yhe scheme which allows Secretary to President and Cabinet to be board Chairperson of state owned institutions arguing that this is an anomaly and it is against section 194 of the Constitution of the Republic.
The Umbudsman has since recommended the withdrawal of Buluma’s contract, forfeiture of the benefit for her role of Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Acting CEO and that the Board should present a report on the findings within 30 days.
The concerned parties have also been given 90 days to appeal on the determination if they feel so.
“We, therefore, request the government of Malawi through the Attorney General and the Ministry of Justice to review the scheme which allows Secretary to President and Cabinet to be board Chairperson of state owned institutions. What happened with Buluma’s recruitment is anomaly and its against section 194 of the Constitution.
“The board of NOCMA should take necessary steps to treat Buluma’s recruitment as it never happened in Malawi and no benefits should be paid for the time that she has served and the contract must be terminated and if any extension was done, it must be nullified forthwith,” said Malera.
She added that Buluma also admitted to having served in the National Governing Council of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
It is on record that Buluma participated as a parliamentary candidate for Nsanje South West Constituency on a DPP ticket in the last election but lost the seat to an independent legislator.
On abuse of office, the office of the Ombudsman said it has found out that the security detail that Buluma had was a response to an actual security threat and that the evidence which was tendered was full of inconsistencies therefore not proving the abuse of office allegations.