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Road Authority board split over CEO firing

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One of the board members of Road Authority (RA) Boniface Dulani has written his board chairperson Joe Ching’ani, expressing disapproval on the way the decision to fire Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Engineer Emmanuel Matapa and Director of Corporate services Auda Msiska was arrived at.

The RA board, On October 31, 2021, fired Matapa and Msiska without disclosing reasons, but it came at the time the authority was under fire for commencing the Kenyatta Drive Road expansion project from two-lane to six lanes in Lilongwe without carrying out an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment.

But in a letter dated November 1, 2021, addressed to the Chairperson of the board and copied to all board members, Dulani expressed his reservations with how the decisions were made, saying among others, they were made and passed without deliberations of a duly convened board meeting.

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When contacted, Dulani declined to comment on the letter, saying it was not meant for the public.

“Since the memo was only meant for the attention of the Board Chairperson and the other Board Members, I don’t think it is proper for me to be commenting on a document that was never meant for the public,” he said.

However, in the letter, Dulani expressed concern over the board’s decision to fire the two which he said would not stand legal scrutiny.

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“Chairperson, in our call last week Thursday, you indicated that a gathering of board members minus ex-official members took place earlier last week over dinner where the matter of dismissing two members of RA staff was discussed. It was not my understanding that the gathering was being treated as a duly convened board meeting that could make resolutions as momentous as the ones made.

“My expectation was that whatever was discussed would subsequently be presented at a duly constituted board meeting for formal deliberation,” reads the letter.

Dulani acknowledged the fact that he is outside the country but said he expected to be invited to a formal board meeting, with all other board members, where formal deliberations on the matter would be held.

He said the clause in the two’s contract that their contract can be terminated could not be triggered without cause and that the two had to be heard before any decisions were made, which he was not sure was the case.

Dulani also expressed concern with the board’s move to reverse a decision to renew the contract for the Director of Maintenance, saying the decision too could have been tabled at a full board meeting.

“Given my concerns, I am of the view that the decision to fire the two members of staff cannot stand legal scrutiny. If we do not raise these concerns, we would be failing as board members in our fiduciary duty as these decisions have the high likelihood of exposing Roads Authority to unnecessary litigation and penalties.

“It is against the foregoing that pursuant to Article 10(b) of the Roads Authority Act, I would like to request your office, Sir, to call for an extraordinary meeting of the board in the next seven days where members can deliberate and make a formal decision on recent developments. Until that meeting, I would like to propose that the recent decisions to dismiss the two and reversal of the recommendation for the renewal of the contract of the Director of Maintenance be pended,” reads the letter.

Ching’ani also declined to comment on the matter saying the decisions are under legal scrutiny.

“It would be a great honour and a service too to provide info on your questions but since there is a legal review of the same, any comment I may make would be prejudiced and unallowable. So I will keep quiet for now,” said.

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