Former acting Chief Executive Officer of National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA) Helen Buluma has revealed that she is being intimidated by someone from the government who she identified as ‘Madam’ for refusing to have a hand in corruption deals.
Buluma in November last year resigned on grounds that she was under immense pressure from NOCMA Board Chairperson Colleen Zamba, Principal Secretary in the ministry of Energy Alfonso Chikuni and others to bring new fuel suppliers and expensive fuel financiers through dubious means.
Later, the Public appointments committee of parliament invited Buluma to a hearing where she also mentioned that working at the company comes with a lot of pressure as a lot of people with connections want to have deals to supply fuel or be brokers dubiously.
Two months after her stunning revelations, Buluma has revealed through a Facebook post that she is being intimidated by some people from the ministry of energy for her refusal to be involved in corruption deals and says she can’t hold it anymore, hence her post.
“I Helen Thandie Buluma, am weary of holding it in , I cannot hold it any longer – it’s like a fire shut up in my bones! Akuti, ‘usalankhule akupha …blablabla!’ Akuti ‘She has instructed kuti apange forensic audit ku NOCMA akupezere zifukwa umangidwe… athana nawe! So just lie low!” wrote Buluma on her Facebook page.
The former NOCMA Acting CEO said she can never be afraid even if the purported forensic audit which she mentioned to be planned by some officials at the ministry of energy, will prove her innocent.
She further mentioned that the fact that she refused to be involved in corruption deals, does not let anyone restrain her from exercising her constitutional rights including the right to speech and life.
“Let’s remind each other kuti I am a Malawian citizen just like anyone else and have rights too! I have the right to say no to Corruption and refuse to participate or be an enabler to any such actions that undermine this country’s progress and/or negatively affect the livelihoods of millions of Malawians!
“The fact that I REFUSED to participate in your corrupt plans – Kukana kuthandizira katangare sichifukwa choti mulimbane nane Madam pamodzi ndi anzanu ku Energy ko. No one should undermine my freedom of movement, participation, speech or even association – or any other constitutional rights and more so threaten my freedom to life!” she added.
She then concluded by quoting Jeremiah 20 verse 9 which reads: “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name, his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.”
Buluma left NOCMA in November last month after resigning. However, Secretary to the President and Cabinet Colleen Zamba who is also chairperson of NOCMA said Buluma was fired by the NOCMA board which was complying with a determination by the Ombudsman who found that Buluma’s appointment as NOCMA deputy CEO was irregular.
After leaving NOCMA, Buluma appeared before a parliamentary committee where she alleged that Zamba mounted pressure on her to corruptly give fuel contracts to suppliers favoured by Zamba.
In 2021, Buluma also made similar allegations against the then Energy minister Newton Kambala, Alliance for Democracy president Enoch Chihana and the then Chief Presidential Adviser on Strategy Chris Chaima Banda.
Kambala and Chaima were fired by President Lazarus Chakwera and together with Chihana they are answering charges for allegedly attempting to influence Buluma to award contracts to Orxy, Finergy and Trafigura.