The board of Malawi Gaming and Lotteries Authority (Magla), in a rare stance, quizzed an appointee of the President to gauge his suitability for the job.
President Peter Mutharika on February 13 2019 appointed Foster Mulumbe, former chief executive officer (CEO) at Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc), as CEO for Magla effective December 19 2018.
But the authority’s board, chaired by Billy Banda, according to inside sources, advised Comptroller of Statutory Corporations Stuart Ligomeka that the appointee would only pick up the job after undergoing interviews, a rare stance in dealing with President’s appointees.
In an interview, Banda confirmed that Mutharika made the appointment but the board decided to interview Mulumbe because the job is technical.
He said although it sounds out of the norm to put the President’s appointee to that test, he justified the decision was meant to assess the capability and suitability of the appointee and in any way not to underrate the President’s authority.
“The interviews took place in Blantyre on March 5 2019 and the appointee passed. He proved to be of right professional qualities and intellectual capabilities,” Banda said.
Mulumbe, in a separate interview, confirmed about his appointment.
The President, through Comptroller of Corporations, moved Magla’s CEO Master Maliro to Umodzi Holdings as its CEO, although Maliro in an interview yesterday said he was not yet told about his removal.
Banda said he could not comment much on Maliro’s departure as he was heading to another institution he has no jurisdiction over.
Comptroller of Statutory Corporations, Ligomeka, declined to comment on the issues, referring Nation on Sunday to Banda.
But an inside source disclosed that the Magla board was simply trying to regularise the appointment and correct the President’s error, knowing the mandate to appoint a CEO and the rest of the officers at the Authority rests with the board.
But Banda dismissed the assertions as untrue, explaining that the word appointment in the Malawi Gaming and Lotteries Authority Act should be interpreted as hiring, recruitment, among others.
According to the Act, Section 3 (15), states that in order to carry out its purposes and exercise its powers, the [Authority] shall appoint a CEO and such other officers and servants as may be necessary for the due and proper carrying out of its purposes of the appropriate exercise of its powers.
Under Subsection 16 it reads: “The board shall with the approval of the Minister [Trade], fix the terms and conditions of service for the chief executive officer and all its other officers and servants,” it reads.
Banda said: “After the interviews we had, we are making our recommendations. It is a real requirement of the board to assess capabilities and suitabilities of the appointee,” Banda said. Apart from the CEO position, government has also swapped positions of finance managers at the Gaming Authority and Blantyre Water Board (BWB), with Henry Bakuwa going to the Gaming Authority and Paul Chiumia to BWB.