By MANDY PONDANI:
Livingstonia Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) has suspended its Director of Education in Education Department Reverend Vincent Kalua for allegedly defrauding the synod of K13 million.
Livingstonia Synod Deputy General Secretary Reverend Joseph Mwale and Moderator Douglas Chipofya have confirmed the development.
Kalua is suspected to have inflated figures for purchase of a motor vehicle – a Nissan Navara – for his department’s project on inclusive education in December last year.
Malawi News has gathered that the synod’s Secretary Reverend Levi Nyondo together with authorities from the department approved purchase of the vehicle which was advertised in the newspaper by car dealer Atusaye Mwambira at K9 million.
According to our source, the department discussed and agreed to request for K12 million from Finance Department so that the additional K3 million caters for incidentals and other administration costs within the project.
But Kalua allegedly went behind the back of other authorities and asked Mwambira to issue an invoice of K22 million contrary to an earlier agreement of K12 million.
He then proceeded to the synod’s General Treasurer Vumba Nyasulu to have the K22 million cheque signed by her contrary to the synod’s guidelines which do not permit the treasurer to issue cheques in excess of K10 million.
“After collecting the cheque from the treasurer, the reverend single-handedly went to pay the car seller asking him to get his K9 million and return the remainder [K13 million] to him which it has been established he instructed should be deposited in his personal account,” said our source on condition of anonymity.
This, it is reported, infuriated Nyondo who immediately after getting reports ordered that the said vehicle should be returned to the owner and that the synod should get back its money.
Chairperson of the synod’s disciplinary committee Reverend Maurice Munthali questioned the integrity of the synod’s treasurer general for signing a cheque of such huge sum without following necessary procedures or consulting.
“As a committee, we had to act quickly on the reverend; however, his very last fate lies with the executive which is set to meet on March 1, at the General Assembly. In all fairness, as a responsible officer, the treasurer general was supposed to be alarmed by the request to have her sign a cheque with such a huge sum,” Munthali said.
But Nyasulu denied being part of the syndicate saying she was ambushed by Kalua to sign the cheque.
“I was on holiday and, on the material day, decided to pass by the office. I was just caught unawares,” she said.
Kalua has, however, denied any wrongdoing saying he had good intentions.
“You may wish to talk to the Vice-GS Reverend Mwale, he knows the whole story. I have been barred from commenting on this issue,” said Kalua in a telephone interview Wednesday.
“I know all this does not resonate well with my ministry but even Jesus met a lot of temptations during his time, so I am only praying to God.”
Mwambira could not be drawn to comment after our several calls and text messages went unanswered.
Meanwhile, Mwale has said Kalua has been stopped from ministering and performing any duties in Education Department pending the General Assembly’s verdict in March.
“It’s a disciplinary issue, calling for disciplinary action. As a synod, we are following all necessary procedures to ensure that it’s concluded,” Mwale said.
Apparently, Malawi News has established that the synod has only recovered K10 million from the foiled deal.
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