Governance experts have faulted government for stating that the board of directors for Admarc had appointed Felix Jumbe as the group’s chief executive officer (CEO), when there was no board of directors.
In announcing Jumbe’s appointment as Admarc CEO last week, Chief Secretary to Government Lloyd Muhara said the appointment has been made by Admarc’s board of directors, raising questions about how a non-functional board could make an appointment, and who exactly appointed Jumbe as Admarc’s CEO
Minister of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology Mark Botomani and comptroller of Statutory Corporations Stuart Ligomeka, in separate interviews Thursday last week, said boards for parastatals were not functional because the appointed board members had not yet received appointment letters.
Commenting on the appointment, legal scholar, who is also Dean of Law at University of Malawi’s (Unima) School of Law Sunduzwayo Madise, noted that while there was nothing illegal, the arrangement exposed some elements of bad governance.
“It’s not so much about the law, but it’s an issue of governance. In terms of corporate governance, there may be conflict of interest when members of the board become part of management and start running the same organisation they were supposed to look after,” he said.
But governance expert Anthony Mukumbwa faulted the Jumbe’s appointment, saying the shareholder should have first appointed the board, which would in turn appoint the CEO.
“Alternatively, the shareholder should have made one of the senior staff to act as CEO as the board is being reconstituted. To say the board has appointed a CEO, when the board is not there, is fraudulent,” Mukumbwa said.
In April 2017, President Peter Mutharika courted controversy when he appointed a board for the Malawi Environmental Protection Authority (Mepa) before the law that establishes the parastatal had come into force, a decision which was deemed illegal. The Act has to-date not yet been gazetted which means it is not yet in force and the board Mutharika appointed is not operational.