The Public Appointments and Declaration of Assets Committee of the recently dissolved Parliament last week rejected the appointment of former Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) commissioner general Lloyd Muhara and former ambassador to Zimbabwe Professor Richard Phoya citing timing of the appointments as one of the reasons.
Committee chairperson Nick Masebo confirmed yesterday that interviews of the two appointees were conducted last week Wednesday, a day before the constitutional dissolution of Parliament, and results of the interviews had been sent to the appointing authority, the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC).
Said Masebo: “In the wisdom of the committee, we have exercised our mandate and it is up to the appointing authority to communicate to the public what we have decided.”
Muhara was appointed ambassador to Kenya while Phoya was expected to take up the post in Germany, less than a year after he was recalled from Zimbabwe by President Joyce Banda administration.
A source within the committee told The Nation that several factors led to the rejection of the two appointees, top of which was the background of Muhara and Phoya.
Muhara was removed from MRA in 2012 after the institution he was heading was embroiled in the government borrowing scandal in which MRA borrowed money from commercial banks in the country allegedly to give a false picture of the government’s zero-deficit budget.
Although he was cleared and eventually awarded millions in damages, our source indicated that the scandal was one of the reasons he was rejected.
On Phoya, who previously served as Malawi’s high commissioner to Kenya in 2007, the committee wondered why he was recalled from Zimbabwe before his three-year mandatory mission elapsed.
Another factor, according to the source was the membership of the committee which comprises of members of Parliament who have lost primary elections in their respective constituencies.
OPC spokesperson Arthur Chipenda said in a written response that the appointment process of ambassadors and high commissioners is only complete after their confirmation by the relevant parliamentary committee.
Said Chipenda: “I can, therefore, confirm that the National Assembly has notified the Chief Secretary to the Government, Mrs. Hawa Ndilowe, that the Public Appointments Committee of Parliament has not confirmed both Mr. Lloyd Muhara and Professor Richard Phoya as Malawi’s Ambassadors to Ethiopia and Germany respectively.”