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Ombudsman queries CMST boss

Martha Chizuma

Office of the Ombudsman has faulted Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) for maladministration.

In a letter dated November 6 2020, the Ombudsman Martha Chizuma indicates that CMST Chief Executive Officer Feston Kaupa has been victimising staff through unfair dismissal.

“My Office has the mandate to investigate cases of alleged injustice, abuse of power, unfair treatment and unreasonable, unfair and unjust discharge of duty by any public office or public officer. I am writing this letter in pursuant [sic] of this mandate.

“My Office is in receipt of a complaint which makes allegations of irregular and nepotistic recruitments of staff and also unfair dismissal of other staff by yourself as the Chief Executive Officer of Central Medical Stores Trust,” reads the letter, which also spells out forms of maladministration and the people involved.

The letter alleges that Kaupa, as CEO, facilitated the recruitment of Rex Kuyeli as Director of Procurement.

The allegation is that the post of Director of Procurement was advertised in local papers and interviews were done. Instead of picking any of the candidates who contested and were successful, you were directed or influenced by Dr. Dan Namarika [Secretary for Health then] to pick Mr. Kuyeli who is related to the said Dr. Dan Namarika,” reads the letter in part.

On victimisation and unfair dismissal of members of staff, the letter says The Ombudsman was in receipt of a complaint that Kaupa unfairly fired Maxwell Chimkokomo, the first Procurement Manager at CMST, for his alleged participation in politics through his support for Malawi Congress Party.

“The allegation states that you had at first written the officer to resign but he refused the allegations and you withdrew the letter. After that you were simply looking for a reason to fire Mr. Chimkokomo and recruit DPP supporters at the institution. The reason you found and used as a ground for dismissal was that Mr. Chimkokomo proceeded on his study for PhD on self-sponsorship basis without management approval.

“Surprisingly CMST advanced a full scholarship to Mr. Sam Zuze, a relation of the former First Lady, Madam Getrude Mutharika, to pursue Masters’ Degree Programme at the Malawi Institute of Management,” reads the letter in part.

Ombudsman Chizuma confirmed writing the CMST boss on the issues raised. CMST spokesperson Herbert Chandilanga also confirmed receiving the communication from the Office of the Ombudsman and said his office will cooperate as requested.

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