Suspended Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) executive director Gerald Chiunda yesterday said he will only explain his case in a hearing the board has set to accord him later.
In an interview last evening, he confirmed getting written communication on his suspension over the recent Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examination leakage scandal.
Said Chiunda: “Having received my suspension letter in the morning hours, the board sent me yet another one in the afternoon. I have two letters on the same, as I speak.
“The public will get to hear my case on the matter during the hearing which the board will eventually organise following the purported investigations. Until then, I remain suspended.”
However, he declined to share contents of the second letter from Maneb, stating that it was complementary to the first.
While laughing, Chiunda said: “Come on, I cannot tell you the contents. I mean, it is just some paragraph that they have added to the first letter. What is known right now is that I have been suspended and I have been made aware.”
Ministry of Education spokesperson Chikondi Chimala earlier confirmed the authenticity of the letter to Chiunda which went viral on social media yesterday, but he too was coy to comment on the purported second letter from the board.
In the letter signed by Maneb board vice-chairperson Edith Mmela, the executive director was told that an emergency meeting to discuss the report of the special committee investigating the examination leakage found that there was “gross negligence in the efficient and effective management and conduct of the MSCE examinations by the board generally and specifically with respect to the duties of your office”.
Reads the letter: “On behalf of the board, I am writing you to inform that the board has resolved to suspend you from duty in your capacity as executive director with immediate effect in order to allow the board to conduct thorough investigations into the matter.
“Upon the conclusion of its investigations, the board shall give you an opportunity to be heard on the matter regarding your role. The board shall communicate this in writing.”
According to the board, the offences as reported by the special committee constituted serious violations contrary to the Maneb Act.
But neither Mmela nor Ministry of Education Principal Secretary Chikondano Mussa could be reached for comment on several attempts.
On November 4 this year, Maneb and Ministry of Education announced the suspension of 2020 MSCE examination due to widespread leakage of some papers.
The board instituted preliminary investigations into the leakage through a special committee constituted for that purpose.
President Lazarus Chakwera last week directed that the investigation should be concluded within one week, Maneb management be replaced within one month and that the examinations be retaken by end of January 2021. The board and Ministry of Education had initially indicated the examination retake would be in March.
University of Malawi academic Dorothy Nampota has since been appointed acting Maneb executive director.