The illegal recruitment of some 19 officers into the Malawi Prisons Service (MPS) has allegedly led to the removal of its acting Chief Commissioner, Little Dinezulu Mtengano.
Malawi News has learnt that, in October last year, MPS recruited some officers to go for training at its college in Mapanga.
“Normally all officers on training receive civil service Grade N salary and Grade M salary after completing their training. These 19 officers have never received any of these,” claims a well-placed source within the prison service who asked for anonymity.
According to a civil service salary structure circular (August 2016) from the Department of Human Resource Management and Development, an entry salary point for Grade N is K68, 483 while the entry point for Grade M is K68, 676.
The sources said when the ministry headquarters noted the issue, they advised management to remove the officers but this never happened. After their graduation last April, some resorted to living with friends and relatives while others are living in a designated prison institution house.
We have further learned that MPS has been meeting their basic needs from its Other Recurrent Transactions (ORT) budget. At some point, money meant for a meeting (Appointments and Disciplinary Committee) which was cancelled was used to cater for their (19 officers’) needs.
The issue of the recruitment of the 19 officers has been widely discussed at the institution’s management meetings. It was finally resolved that they should be recruited considering that they had already gone through prison training.
Whilst Malawi News was still trying to probe this issue, some changes were made at the MPS.
We received official communication from the institution on Friday, June 23, 2017 but, on the same day, it was also known that Mtengano had not been confirmed on his acting position.
On Monday this week, the officers officially learned that Mtengano was replaced with Grace Wandika Phiri, who has been serving as Commissioner Responsible for Administration at Zomba prison headquarters.
MPS Public Relations Officer, Smart Maliro, confirmed that there are some prison officers who are yet to begin receiving their salaries but dismissed the reports that this is due to their illegal recruitment.
“… issues of new employees and even serving members missing from the payroll are not peculiar to MPS. They happen almost in all other employment sectors and necessary measures are taken to correct them,” Maliro said.
He added that MPS does not work in isolation in the employment of, and payment of salaries to, new officers.
“… all processes required from the MPS’ side were done some time ago. We have the information that the final process in salary payment will soon be completed by the relevant stakeholders,” Maliro clarified.
According to MPS, they were given the authority to recruit 400 prison warders. 392 prison recruits graduated on April 28, 2017 after successfully completing their six-month training course.
Maliro said: “ Others that failed to graduate had reasons ranging from failure to report for the training to gloss indiscipline in the course of their training that led to discharges….the MPS is in receipt of information that the few officers (not paid) will begin receiving their salaries plus arrears as soon as July 2017 month end.”
However, Maliro had not yet responded to the allegation that the non-confirmation of Mtengano is linked to illegal recruitment.
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