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Anti Corruption Bureau blocks Macra staff

Several employees stopped from working

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By Wonder Msiska

Reyneck Matemba

The Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) has issued restriction orders stopping several employees at Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) from reporting for work pending an investigation which the bureau is reportedly conducting on how they were recruited.

Several letters dated September 24 and signed by ACB Director- General, Reyneck Matemba, which we have seen, have instructed Macra Director-General Henry Shamu not to allow MacDonald Phoya, Villant Tambulasi, Charles Fodya and Limbani Sekani to discharge or continue discharging their duties at the regulatory institution.

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The ACB has also listed Tiyamike Zawanda, Timothy Sukali, Emmanuel Banda, Ruth Mdala, Kumbukani Lisilira and Frank Mdala as some of the people that were stopped from carrying out any other function in relation to their employment at Macra.

In a separate interview Sunday, Matemba confirmed that the graft-busting body has issued the restriction order as it investigates recruitments of some members of staff, which were undertaken the last three to five years.

ACB suspects there was breach of procedures.

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Macra Communications Manager Clara Ngwira Sunday refused to shed more light on the issues, saying they are under investigations by law-enforcement agencies.

However, according to a report from Macra to ACB that we have seen, the recruitment of members of staff at the authority has been one of the major weak points.

“The interviews were conducted with the successful candidates already predetermined and the panel being used just for cover up. The influence was both political but also personal preference,” reads the report.

Apparently, there was also the aspect of religious consideration with the former director favouring those he shares his faith with.

The report further states that 90 percent of the employees who have been recruited in the past three to five years have not gone through the normal recruitment processes.

“The interviews were being conducted but with preferred candidates already communicated to the panel,” it says.

The report also bemoans what it presents as the poor composition of the previous board which it alleges did not meet the Communications Act requirements that board member members should be drawn from fields like finance, economics, law, telecommunication and general administration, among others.

It alleges that some previous board members were not even able to competently communicate in English language.

“The previous board members were extravagant particularly in foreign trips up to the period of Covid-19 travel restrictions,” it says, adding that the board spent K400 million to the period up to June 2020 which was 100 percent more than what they had spent in a similar period the previous year.

Recently, Minister of Information Gospel Kazako indicated that “several” employees in the public sector who were not recruited in line with the existing laws will be sent packing, saying it is part of ensuring that only those who deserve the jobs in the sector get them.

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