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Escom finance director quits

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Finance Director at the just unbundled Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom), Bettie Mahuka, has resigned, and The Daily Times understands that she was being pressured to make dubious payments for procurement deals worth billions of kwacha which was against her conscience.

Escom Board Chairperson, Jean Mathanga, did not pick her phone despite several attempts but Chief Executive Officer for the power utility company, John Kandulu, confirmed, in an interview yesterday, that Mahuka tendered in her resignation letter a few days ago.

Kandulu could not be drawn to comment on the reasons saying the board was better placed to comment.

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“The appointing authority is the board not management. This is a contractual matter and management cannot comment on such matters,” Kandulu said.

In a separate interview Mahuka who has worked for Escom for the last seven years before the split of the firm into two, with the new unit called Electricity Generation Company (Egenco), played down her resignation when we sought her comment.

She only said she has quit on personal grounds. When put to her that reports suggest she was being pressured to make dubious payments on behalf of government, Mahuka insisted the reasons are personal.

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“There is no such a thing as what you are saying, the reasons are personal. You mean you want to write about this? It’s personal and it’s not true that that I was being pressurised to do anything,’’ said Mahuka who also refused to disclose her next course of action.

But an impeccable source at Escom said Mahuka was caught between a rock and a hard place as she was being forced to process over K2.5 billion deals without going through normal tendering process.

“Her conscious couldn’t allow her so she has opted out,” said the source that opted for anonymity.

Recent reports also show that an internal audit report at Escom for the period January–June 2016 found that some top officials connived and abused funds amounting to K1.3 billion by buying items without the blessings of the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP). Government is yet to act on the scam.

Currently, consumers across the country are grappling with prolonged blackouts and businesses have slowed down further threatening jobs for most people and at the same time the health sector is going through a harsh time with reports of avoidable deaths on the rise in some hospitals.

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