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Mera bosses sent on leave

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The Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) has sent on leave its Chief Executive Officer Raphael Kamoto and Director of Finance Elias Hausi to pave way for investigations into how K3 billion from the Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF) was diverted to purchase maize for the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc).

Mera Board Vice Chairperson Felisa Kilembe confirmed the development but could not go into details.

“They have not been suspended but sent on leave to pave way for investigations. They have been sent on leave to finalise that process [of investigations]. I cannot go into details. After the investigation, the findings will be made public,” said Kilembe.

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In February this year, Mera resolved to divert K2.964 billion from the PSF to buy maize for Admarc, a decision Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development described as illegal.

According to a letter dated February 25, 2016, the Mera board met on February 24 2015 and resolved to buy 10,000 metric tonnes at a cost of K2.964 billion to be sent to Admarc for sale in its markets.

At the time, Gondwe said the government did not authorise the purchase of the maize and he told the media his ministry was investigating the transaction.

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The government, under Public Finance Management Act, has no mandate to use funds without the authorisation of Parliament except in very special cases.

In May this year, Secretary for Treasury Ronald Mangani wrote Mera board Chairperson Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe demanding the suspension and prosecution of key officers at Mera. He further demanded that the money from the PSF used to buy maize be refunded.

In an interview yesterday, Treasury Spokesperson Nations Msowoya said they had comment, apart from saying; “The decision of the board is based on facts on their table.”

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