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Ombudsman invades Macra

The Office of the Ombudsman has launched an investigation into alleged abuse of power and maladministration in the recruitment of some staff at the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra).

In a letter addressed to Macra director general Henry Shamu, Ombudsman Martha Chizuma said her office had received a complaint linking Shamu’s predecessor Godfrey Itaye to the allegations of abuse and maladministration.

The Ombudsman has asked Shamu to provide “a comprehensive response” on the allegations within 14 days from the date of the letter, September 4 2020.

Reads the Ombudsman’s letter in part: “For avoidance of doubt, I would like your comments to touch on the recruitment process that was used for each of the positions in question, i.e. the declaration of the vacancy, the advert for the position, the short-listing process, the interview process and the offer to successful candidates.”

Besides alleging recruitment of direct relations, fellow Seventh Day Adventist faithful and acquaintances, the complaints lodged to the Ombudsman also claim that some officers were recruited for non-existing positions and that some Democratic Progressive Party loyalists were also given jobs without following the due process.

Reads the letter: “As for the allegations of irregularities on the employment of former director general himself, I shall expect the same details, but also details of and submissions from referees on his suitability for employment.

“All these should be accompanied by supporting documents which should further include Macra’s terms and conditions of service, staff establishment, Macra’s HR policy and recruitment policy.”

In telephone interview yesterday, Chizuma confirmed that her office had launched investigations into Macra recruitment processes and said the letter was self-explanatory.

The Ombudsman’s investigations come days after Fiscal Police arrested Itaye, who in early June was redeployed to Lilongwe Water Board as chief executive officer, for alleged abuse of office and fraud.

Efforts to speak to Itaye yesterday proved futile as his phones went unanswered on several attempts.

credit: National

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