The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has launched investigations into allegations of abuse of office levelled against embattled Blantyre Water Board (BWB) chief executive officer Andrew Thawe.
ACB senior public relations officer Egrita Ndala confirmed in a response to a questionnaire that the graft busting body received a complaint against Thawe. She could not say who complained to ACB but the development follows fast on the heels of a strike at BWB by workers who demanded the removal of their CEO.
“The Anti-Corruption Bureau recorded a complaint of alleged abuses at Blantyre Water Board,” Ndala said. “The complaint has been processed and authorised for investigation.”
She said the anti-graft body reviews complaints to see if there is merit to warrant an investigation and that where an investigation is not warranted, the complaint is addressed through other means such as referrals to relevant institutions and departments.
“It should be understood by complainants that only complaints of alleged corrupt practices are investigated. If a complaint has all the elements of a suspected corruption offence, the bureau will investigate it,” Ndala said.
Thawe, who has since been sent on forced leave, refused to comment on the matter when Nation on Sunday sought his reaction on Friday.
A petition written by BWB branch of Water Employees Trade Union of Malawi to the comptroller in the Department of Statutory Corporations contains allegations against Thawe which include abuse of office.
The petition, signed by union branch general secretary Tonney Chiphwanya and president James Monjeza, accuses Thawe of:
lIssuing contracts for personal benefits or interests
lSingle-handedly procuring prepaid water meters from China and South Africa
lBuying spares for motors which were not received by stores and finance department.
It also alleges that Thawe intimidated union leaders, made unilateral decisions without consulting directors and victimised directors who held contrary views.
The petition, dated August 21, 2014, further alleges that Thawe manipulated the company’s organisational structure by deleting positions of zone managers and creating new positions to accommodate personal interests and transfer employees to new positions contrary to their fields of specialisation.