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HRDC pens Ombudsman to probe Buluma security detail

Gift Trapence

Helen Buluma

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has asked the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate reports that National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) has bloated police security for its deputy chief executive officer (CEO) Helen Buluma.

The Nation reported on Saturday that Nocma was spending K3.9 million every month on paying five police officers and meeting costs of their three guns to provide security for Buluma.

A letter to the office of the Ombudsman, which HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence has signed, indicates that the provision of extra security is out of Buluma’s entitlements— all of which are met by the tax payer.

“HRDC has received reports of allegations that the Deputy Chief Executive Officer for National Oil Company of Malawi is now personally being guarded by an armed police officer and that other officers also guard her residence in Lilongwe, a benefit which we are reliably informed is outside her entitlement.

“The Nocma deputy is allegedly reported to be using tax payers’ money in paying for the services. HRDC finds the reports, if proved to be true, to be tantamount to abuse of office by a public officer.

“HRDC is, therefore, requesting your good office to probe this allegation to its logical conclusion as a matter of urgency. Reports of abuse of office are a serious offence especially when hard-earned tax payers money is at the centre of it all. HRDC and well-meaning Malawians are looking forward to see[ing] your office carrying out an

investigation to get to the bottom of this matter,” the letter reads.

Office of the Ombudsman spokesperson Arthur Semba confirmed receiving the letter, saying it would be treated like any other tip they receive.

“I can confirm. We received it on Friday. Usual assessment on admissibility of the complaint will follow. If we find we have jurisdiction we shall proceed with appropriate investigative steps,” he said.

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