Centre for Development of People (Cedep) has asked Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) to fire its newly-appointed acting chief executive officer (CEO) within the next seven working days or face legal action.
Cedep said it learnt with “great shock and dismay” that the institution’s acting CEO Ishmael Chioko is answering charges in the infamous plunder of public resources, popularly known as Cashgate.
Cedep executive director Gift Trapence, in a statement released on Friday, said it is ironic that Chioko’s appointment came when there were reports of financial mismanagement and abuse at Mera.
“In fact, Mera chief executive officer Raphael Kamoto was sent on forced leave by the same board that has appointed Chioko to pave the way for investigations. By appointing Chioko, what message is the board sending to Malawians?
“You send one officer on forced leave due to alleged financial mismanagement and you replace him with another who is answering serious criminal charges in a court of law bordering on the same abuse and mismanagement of financial resources? This is mediocrity of the highest order. [As] human rights defenders, we cannot sit back and watch as all this drama unfolds before our eyes,” he said.
Trapence further said, while the country is nursing wounds resulting from Cashgate, people appointed into senior positions should be those whose personal integrity is beyond reproach.
Chioko was appointed Mera acting CEO until further notice effective September 15 2016.
His appointment followed the sending on leave of two Mera senior bosses, CEO Kamoto and director of finance Elias Hausi, to pave the way for investigations into an alleged diversion of K3 billion from the Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF).
At that time, Mera director of electricity and renewable energy Welton Saiwa took up the post of acting CEO.
When contacted for comment, Mera board chairperson Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe said he was in transit from Karonga to Mzuzu and had no information on the Cedep statement.
Bvumbwe also said most of the developments happened before he was appointed Mera board chairperson in May this year, as such, it would be difficult for him to promptly comment.
He referred this reporter to other board members who were in the board before he came in.
However, efforts to talk to board vice-chairperson Felisah Kilembe did not bear fruits as her phone went unanswered despite several attempts.