NOCMA probe: Zamba, Chikuni faces subpoena

….Kazako, MP Onani to be summoned as well.

Public Appointments and Assets Declaration Committee of Parliament will this week decide whether to subpoena Head of Malawi Civil Service Colleen Zamba and Secretary for Energy Alfonso Chikuni who defied earlier summons to appear before the committee. The Investigator has confirmed.

Acting Chief Executive Officer for the National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA) Helen Buluma who resigned before being fired by Zamba, mentioned the Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Chikuni and MP for Dedza South Ishmail Ndaila Onani as applying pressure for her to “illegally” award fuel contracts to companies Zamba had interest in.

Information Minister Gospel Kazako is expected to join the bandwagon of officials to be summoned as his Ministry released a scathing press release that fell short of calling Ms Buluma a liar and that she had backdated her resignation letter. Buluma told the public inquiry, the Ministry of Information was lied to the public.

“Yes, it is our standard procedure that anyone reflected during our hearings should be given a chance to say their side of story. So, we expect everyone named during our evidential gathering process to come and give their side of story,” said committee Chair Joyce Chitsulo.

This means that a lady who was identified as “Eva” Evalister Kamwangala by Buluma will be summoned as well, giving a glimpse to the new power corridors within the ruling MCP structures as The Investigator is tracking the lady who has been also named in a separate fertiliser contact in South Africa. Read the new MCP billionaires, connections out on January 1, 2023.

Others summoned including NOCMA Board members Feston Zambezi, Niel Nyirongo, Rev Eliam Longwe, Chrispin Ndalama, Esther Chioko, Gideon Nyirongo and two other ex-officials Mafutwa Mwale, Secretary to the Treasury and Peter Simbani who is comptroller of statutory corporations)

There has been defining silence from the Malawi Government after attempts by Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda to stop the hearing failed as the committee ignored his unsolicited advice not to proceed with the hearing.

“We did not make a decision as committee; we were only collecting evidence. For us a committee to make a decision then we need a quorum. So that’s the next stage of our process,” said Chitsulo in an interview on Saturday.

A governance expert indicated that senior government officials might have been scared by the revelations as they will have to undertake oath and any proof of lying before the committee would be a criminal offence.

“Someone between Buluma and SPC Zamba is lying. Buluma says she resigned, Zamba says she was fired. From the onset that’s very tricky as someone has to appear before parliament and say the truth,” noted the expert.

Buluma told parliament that Zamba was pushing her to sign a contract for “Chief” before the funds had been depleted. Speculations and social media posts have pointed at a Nigerian based in South Africa as being “Chief.”

When contacted, Onani who was accused by Buluma of shouting at her, said he was looking forward to clearing his name as he did not do what Buluma alleged.

Both Zamba and Chikuni did not respond to our messages sent to their official email and phones.

Fuel has been a source of political funding for ruling parties, read all about it in the Investigator first edition.

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