Pac pens Speaker to summon Colleen Zamba
The Public Appointments Committee (Pac) of Parliament has written Speaker Catherine Gotani Hara to subpoena Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) Colleen Zamba to appear before the committee over her alleged interference in fuel deals at National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma).
This attempt by Pac follows Zamba’s “several instances of snubbing” the committee’s invitations, it claims.
Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda advised Parliament against summoning the SPC and the then-Nocma acting Chief Executive Officer Helen Buluma apparently because Pac has no legal mandate to interrogate legal issues.
But the Malawi Law Society (MLS) disagreed with Nyirenda, saying Parliament’s Standing Orders empower the committee to scrutinise, consider and inquire into the competence of public appointees under the Constitution.
Buluma went ahead to appear before the committee on November 23 2022.
Zamba was, and is, being summoned in her capacity as Nocma Board Chairperson.
Pac wants to meet her by the second week of the next Parliament meeting, which starts on the 17th of this month.
When she appeared before the committee, Buluma alleged that Zamba interfered with fuel deals at Nocma by forcing her to award contracts to some companies and brokers without following procedures.
Monday, Pac chairperson Joyce Chitsulo confirmed writing Gotani Hara to subpoena Zamba to appear before the committee, apparently because the SPC has been shunning invitations.
“We want her to appear before the committee to answer the corruption allegations made by Buluma. Those allegations are serious and the committee cannot just ignore them,” Chitsulo said.
She also said the committee has summoned Member of Parliament for Dedza South Ismael Onani to respond to allegations made by Buluma that he was pushing the former Nocma boss to hand over Chipoka Fuel Depot to him.
Zamba had neither picked our calls nor responded to our questionnaire by press time.
On his part, Onani said he had not yet received any communication from Parliament.
“I have not received anything and I have never met Helen Buluma and I don’t know her,” the lawmaker said.
Parliament spokesperson Ian Mwenye said he needed time to consult the Clerk of Parliament to find out more about Pac’s letter.
Zamba has not publicly commented on the allegations.