………NOCMA terminates her contract
The embattled Acting Chief Executive Officer of National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA) who was alleged to have illegally secured the position, Hellen Buluma has finally stepped down from the position.
In a letter addresses to NOCMA’s Chairperson, Collen Zamba, Buluma said the decision has been reached after making serious considerations and taking into account the immense pressure that she has faced in the past recent months from the Chairperson, 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 like Confluence Asset Management holding PTE Limited ($250 million), 700(SA)? Oil and Gas, (Supply of 40,000MT(metric tones) of both diesel and petrol each), GY and Sons Holdings (Supply of 40,000MT of both diesel and petrol each), Dalitso General Dealers and others which the Principal Secretary responsible for Energy solicited.
Buluma said she has been providing advice to the Chairperson on the due process to be followed in the procurement of fuel on numerous occasions but she is still receiving relentlessly pressure to proceed outside the normal procurement procedures and more recently taking advantages as an excuse to enter into rushed agreements.
“The final trigger for me has been the most recent meeting, which was called by the Principal Secretary of Energy and was chaired by himself on the 13th of November 2022 at the Boardroom whose main agenda was to discuss an expression of interest from GY and Sons to supply fuel to NOCMA and the MERA Board resolution which was not to declare a fuel supply emergency,” reads part of the letter.
According to Buluma, the meeting that was held on Sunday evening, pushed for NOCMA Executive Management to quickly publish a Request for Proposal (RFP) to include all the mentioned unsolicited expressions of interest for fuel supply especially, GY and Sons and also MERA Management to influence its board to rescind its earlier Board decision not to declare a fuel crisis emergency.
She added that at the meeting, the PS Energy directed that the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority board should declare a fuel supply emergency so that his ministry can gazette for the sole reason that this would open the opportunity for importers to take on more suppliers; and that NOCMA should proceed to do an RFP and send all the mentioned unsolicited suppliers and those that the PS Energy would provide to normalise such procurements.
“This was despite the NOCMA director of operations and myself providing assurances that strategies were in places to deal with fuel shortages and that we were coordinating well with MERA and other stakeholders including the Reserve Bank of Malawi to deal with Fuel Shortages,” added the letter.
She further added that she was facing numerous pressure from the politicians which continued to put her life under threat which also forced her to surrender the Chipoka Deport in Salima District and his Asian Investors.
Meanwhile, barely hours after her resignation, The National Oil Company of Malawi has terminated Buluma’s contract based on second legal opinion sought from the Attorney General, Thabo Nyirenda.
In a communication signed by Nocma board chairperson Colleen Zamba and passed to media a while ago, Zamba acknowledges that her board has had to swallow humble pie and accept the determination of the Ombudsman which declared that Buluma should be treated as never having been employed at Nocma as her purported employment flouted employment procedures.