Serious allegations pointing to abuse of office and suspected corruption on fuel supply contracts levelled against the embattled Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Colleen Zamba have prompted some local civil rights groups and accountability institutions to demand immediate action on her to protect civil service integrity.
On Wednesday, former National Oil Company of Malawi-NOCMA Acting Chief Executive Officer, Hellen Buluma blatantly told the Public Appointments Committee of Parliament-PAC that Zamba exerted unnecessary pressure on her to award fuel supply contracts to her preferred companies without following proper procurement procedures.
Center for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives-CDEDI wants President Lazarus Chakwera to fire Zamba; further questioning the absence of Malawi Congress Party’s legislators who are member of the committee.
“If it were in a serious country, Zamba would have resigned before Buluma walked out of the PAC meeting. Similarly, if it were that President Chakwera was not involved in all these heinous acts, he would have fired Zamba by now,” says CDEDI Executive Director, Sylvester Namiwa in a statement.
MCP spokesperson, Maurice Munthali could not be reached to justify the absence of the party’s legislators during the hearing on Wednesday.
But Buluma informed PAC members that President Chakwera had repeatedly encouraged her to always do things according to the law especially on procurement processes and not to succumb to any political pressures.
CDEDI views the NOCMA issue as a clear case of organized crime.
Adds Namiwa: “The absence of the ruling Malawi Congress Party Members of Parliament during the hearing, and the gravity of the allegations levelled against the SPC gives the impression that we are dealing with a clear case of organized crime where Dr. Chakwera himself should explain to Malawians not by words but through deeds and actions, by firing the SPC with immediate effect.”
Commenting on the matter, Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency-CSAT Executive Director, Willy Kambwandira says Buluma has raised very serious allegations bordering on corruption and abuse of office that should not be taken lightly.
He adds it is regrettable that Zamba failed to show up before PAC.
“The law enforcement agencies including the ACB should quickly move in to investigate the allegations. There is a need to get her side of the story. She needs to clear herself on this matter and assume a position that does not compromise the investigations,” explains Kambwandira.
Neither Zamba nor State House has commented on Buluma’s latest allegations.
PAC Chairperson, Joyce Chitsulo told journalists on Wednesday that they never got any communication or apology from Zamba on her absence despite officially writing her to appear before the committee.
This is happening amid growing calls for President Chakwera to move beyond mere rhetoric and launch a serious and decisive crackdown on corruption scandals that have seen some of his trusted ministers and senior government officials implicated and denting the image of the Tonse-led-administration.