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Pempho Likongwe resigns from Mera Board

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QUERIED MERA
DECISION—Chapweteka

Following a leaked report on findings and recommendations from the Office of the Ombudsman into the inquiry of the appointment of Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Henry Kachaje, one of the authority’s board members Pempho Likongwe has quit.

Likongwe, a lawyer, was implicated in the report by the first complainant Richard Chapweteka, who claimed to have suffered injustice when the authority appointed motivational speaker Kachaje as its CEO.

Chapweteka lodged a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman, claiming that he was treated unjustly, citing Likongwe’s off-the-scenes comments as the basis of his query.

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Despite a court injunction barring the Ombudsman from making public findings and recommendations, the report had already been distributed to some of the concerned parties by the time court order papers were served on Ombudsman Grace Malera.

Likongwe confirmed to The Daily Times that he had resigned yesterday.

His resignation letter, dated November 15 2021, has been addressed to the Comptroller of Statutory Corporations.

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He cites his alleged implication as the basis for stepping down.

“Regrettably by the turn of events I have to resign from the board of Mera. The events leading to my resignation are that Richard Chapweteka was my friend, who had worked with me in the presidential [election] case.

“He attended interviews for the position of Chief Executive Officer for Mera. Before the results were released, the State President appointed Mr Chapweteka as commissioner of the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec). From my circle, I heard that Mr Chapweteka was going to turn down the appointment as Mec Commissioner because he was going to be appointed Chief Executive Officer for Mera,” the letter reads.

Likongwe further indicates that it was in this regard that he reached out to Chapweteka to help him make a sound financial decision as he was going to be jobless if he were to down the [Mec] appointment.

“I have accepted that I did wrong by informing Mr Chapweteka that he might not be the successful candidate in the Mera CEO interviews before the results were formally released. I sincerely regret this. Whilst I was driven by Christian values, I realised that, legally, I was not supposed to do that. I apologise to the appointing authority, the Public Appointment Committee (who confirmed my appointment), the Mera Chairman and Mera Board members for letting them down on this issue,” the letter adds.

Mera Vice Board Chair Innocencia Chirombo confirmed receipt of the letter.

“I can confirm that we have received the resignation letter,” she said.

The High Court gave Mera up to November 25 2021 to prepare an inter-partes application on the matter.

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