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Nocma defies Ombudsman

Deputy CEO continues to work

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Hellen Buluma

The Board of Directors of National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) has opted to ignore the determination of the Ombudsman for it to nullify the recruitment of Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Hellen Buluma.

When asked for a comment Monday, Buluma referred us to Nocma Communication and Public Relations Manager Rex Chikoko.

Chikoko asked for ample time before he could comment on the issue.

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Nocma Board Chairperson Colleen Zamba, who is also the Secretary to the President, could not respond to the questions we posed to her on Buluma’s determination.

In her determination last month, Ombudsman Grace Malera gave the Nocma Board 30 days to nullify Buluma’s appointment as CEO and report back to her on action taken.

But sources at the Office of the Ombudsman told The Daily Times Monday that they had nothing concrete from Nocma on the action taken on Buluma as at Friday. told

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When contacted Monday, Malera confirmed that her office had not received any communication from Nocma Board by midday Monday.

Since the Ombudsman delivered her determination on September 30 2022, Buluma has been going around discharging her duties normally.

On October 25, Buluma summoned fuel transporters to a meeting at Golden Peacock Hotel in Lilongwe to discuss modalities for payment of fuel.

But Malera says her office is not aware that Buluma is still discharging her duties at Nocma.

Section 9 of the Ombudsman Act (Chapter 3:07 of the Laws of Malawi) says that an Ombudsman has an obligation to compile a full report in respect of every matter inquired into or investigated into, and which has not been rectified or remedied as contemplated in the Ombudsman Act, to the satisfaction of the Ombudsman, and to submit such report as soon as possible to the Speaker of the National Assembly, and transmit a copy of such report to the Cabinet and any other relevant organ of government.

“In view of this provision, if my office does not receive a report from Nocma Board confirming that Nocma has implemented the directives that were issued in the determination, I will be transmitting forthwith a report on non-compliance with the determination in question to the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee and the Speaker of Parliament for the necessary action of these authorities,” Malera said.

Presenting her determination on September 30 2022, Malera said the investigation found out that Buluma was hired following a directive by former president Peter Mutharika.

Buluma, during the inquiry, admitted to have not applied for the post but insisted she had the necessary skills, experience and qualifications, a defence which Malera trashed.

Such an appointment, according to Malera, flouted Section 4 of the Public Service Act which provides for an open and competitive process of recruitment by way of advertisement for executive positions in government.

The probe has also faulted the Comptroller of Statutory Corporations for issuing an

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