The Malawi Institute of Management (MIM) board has suspended three managers barely three days after a Times investigation exposed how the institute organised a conference with ‘artificial’ participants and blew over K20 million.
The investigation also included reports of some staff victimisation by management.
The suspended officials are acting executive director (ED) Samson Sikelo Phiri, acting director of training and consultancy Collins Jambo and acting director of finance Catherine Mselemu.
MIM Board Chairperson Lewis Dzimbiri confirmed the development.
He also confirmed that the suspension is in line with the investigation going on at the institution into the K20 million expenditure on a conference with ‘artificial’ participants and victimisation reports from some concerned staff.
Dzimbiri also confirmed that the board has appointed Jessie Kabwila as acting ED.
“I write to inform you that the board of governors has, with effect from 13th July 2022, appointed Dr Jessie Kabwila as acting Executive Director. Let us all render our support to Dr Jessie Kabwila,” reads an internal communication from Human Resource and Administration Manager N.D. Mabvumbe, dated July 13 2022, addressed to all staff and students.
Director of Consultancy and Research Milward Tobias said management has done the right thing.
“We expect the issue to be dealt with to finality and the money recovered,” Tobias said.
However, governance expert Mabvuto Bamusi said the suspension is not enough and called for the firing of the entire board.
“The suspension of the three managers is not enough. It is the Board of MIM that needs to go. The ultimate responsibility in corporate governance lies with the board. Executive manages are mere employees of the board,” Bamusi said.
Bamusi also called for the upholding of the rights of the three managers, saying they have to be heard.
Last week’s Malawi News reported that MIM organised a conference in Mangochi District, where it was held under the theme ‘Transformative Religious Leadership: The Pathway to a Growth Mindset’ and took place from December 16 to 17 2021 and had only one paid-up participant with seven facilitators.
Participants were required to contribute K450,000 each.
With only one participant, management insisted on the conference and mobilised other participants from Mangochi, who did not pay the fees and, in the process, the institute blew over K20 million.
Some staff members were also asked to pose as participants to ‘fool’ Vice President Saulos Chilima, who was the guest of honour.
Both Chilima and Comptroller of Statutory Corporations Peter Simbani called for investigations.