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Diplomats spend years without contracts

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SANDE—The ministry is working on finalising them

By Wezzie Gausi:

Some of the people that were deployed to foreign missions are yet to sign contracts, years after reporting for work at their duty stations, The Daily Times has learned.

However, the government has said it is working on the issue to ensure that all diplomats have contracts.

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It has further said most of the diplomats have contracts, save for a few it will soon offer contracts.

Some of the diplomats confided in The Daily Times that they are yet to sign contracts despite being deployed to missions for a year or more.

“We have been working without contracts and are not sure about the time we will get contracts. This is putting us in an awkward situation,” said one diplomat, sentiments corroborated by another emissary.

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The development has riled the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (Pac).

The committee has described the development as “absurd”.

Committee chairperson Mark Botoman said he had, indeed, heard that some diplomats were yet to be handed contracts.

He said committee members were recently briefed about the situation by ministry officials.

“What the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is doing is not standard employment procedure. There is no way someone can start working without having a contract first.

“A contract is a document that contains all the necessary requirements for the employee. It tells the employee what is expected of him or her. Issues like salaries and other things.

“Now we have a whole ministry telling the committee that it is [something of a] routine to be deploying people without contracts. This is something uncalled for and gives room for people to speculate,” Botoman said.

Secretary for Foreign Affairs Bernard Sande acknowledged that the ministry has been deploying people to foreign missions before giving them contracts for some time.

“We send the contracts when the diplomats have reached their destination of work. The contracts are designed from the day they report to work.

“Of course, currently, we have few people that haven’t received their contracts but the ministry is working on finalising them,” Sande said.

Last week, the committee faulted the government for retaining a United Arab Emirates citizen on the payroll of Malawi Embassy staff for 10 years.

According to the committee, the individual in question, a woman, has been holding the position of Consul General since 2013 and is from Dubai, one of the emirates.

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