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Recruitment mess at Malawi Revenue Authority

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The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has punched holes in the recruitment process of Customs and Revenue Collection Officers at the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) describing it as unprocedural and that it could have cost the government K130 million.

ACB Director-General Reyneck Matemba Wednesday said their investigations have exposed that 71 out of 125 candidates that were offered the jobs were not eligible, meaning they would have gone ahead to receive their salaries and other benefits when they did not actually deserve the jobs.

Matemba, presenting the findings to journalists in Lilongwe, said officers at MRA came up with a parallel list of successful candidates after the initial list of 125 people was sent to the National Intelligence Service (NIS) for vetting.

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“Five hundred and thirty-three candidates were invited for interviews; 487 attended the interviews and 125 candidates were selected as successful. The list of 125 candidates was sent to the National Intelligence Service for vetting. MRA felt that it was taking time and went ahead to offer jobs to some candidates without the vetting,” Matemba said.

He added that some of the 71 candidates are relations of well-known politicians such as former Deputy Minister of Agriculture Charles Mchacha and Former Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi. Others, he said, are relations of some officers at the revenue institution.

According to Matemba, the investigations also confirmed that NIS was not mandated by law to vet the posts in question and that even so, the institution used an unsuitable vetting process.

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“Some of the questions that were being asked were inappropriate. They were asking candidates if they had any connection with the previous ruling party and their areas origin with the idea to kick out some from the list on the issue of tribe. We found some of the questions unnecessary,” the ACB boss said.

The graft-busting body has since recommended to the Office of the President and Cabinet to ensure that NIS operates according to the law and be free from political interference.

ACB has also recommended that MRA should offer the post only to the 125 candidates who were selected on merit.

Matemba also disclosed that through the bureau’s investigations, ACB managed to pinpoint public officers at MRA who swapped the list of the successful candidates with that of those who were eventually offered the jobs.

“We have surely opened a case on the officers because they abused their offices and did not follow proper procedures in executing their work on the matter,” he said.

The investigations over the alleged recruitment mess at MRA commenced in April this year after some whistleblowers informed ACB about some malpractices in the process.

The bureau sent a restriction order against further recruitment of the officer spending investigations, a development which irked some candidates who dragged the bureau to court.

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