The board of Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) has booted out its embattled chief executive officer (CEO) Godfrey Itaye, and government has since redeployed him to Malawi Postal Corporation (MPC).
The board of LWB, in a memo dated November 19 2020, signed by chairperson of the board George Kajanga, advised Itaye that he was being redeployed to MPC with immediate effect.
In a letter dated October 7 2020, European Development Bank (EIB), which is funding a 15 million Euros (about K13 billion) water treatment plant project for LWB, wrote Ministry of Finance expressing its concerns on Itaye’s recruitment as CEO.
Itaye was arrested at the end October 2020 on allegations of fraud when he served as director general at Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra). He was released on bail days later.
Comptroller of Statutory Corporations Nwazi Mnthambala asked about grounds of Itaye’s redeployment in an interview yesterday, said he was simply going back where he came from.
“It’s just redeployment, and he is going back where he came from,” she said when asked to state grounds for Itaye’s redeployment as it was her office, according to the memo by the board of the LWB, that directed his removal.
Mnthambala said there was an acting CEO at MPC. Itaye was at MPC before he moved to Macra.
According to the memo from the LWB board, addressed to Itaye, the board had an extra-ordinary meeting on November 19 2020 and considered issues cited in the letter from Statutory Corporations and resolved to comply with government’s decision to redeploy him.
“The board has since appointed Mr. Silli Mbewe, the director of finance as acting CEO of Lilongwe Water Board…I should be grateful to have you immediately hand over all issues in your office to Mr. Silli Mbewe,” reads, in part, the letter to Itaye.
LWB spokesperson Maurice Nkawihe, in an interview yesterday, disclosed that the communication about Itaye’s redeployment was communicated to members of staff.
Kajanga, signatory of the letter, could not be drawn to comment on the redeployment and its grounds, referring Nation on Sunday to the board’s spokesperson for all inquiries.
Itaye could not pick his mobile phone yesterday for his reaction to the redeployment.
But an inside source confided in Nation on Sunday that following concerns raised to Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu by EIB over recruitment of a CEO who was answering to fraud charges, the minister made consultations with Comptroller of Statutory Corporations and other relevant authorities and it was resolved to have Itaye removed to avoid jeopardising the multi-billion kwacha water project.
Fraud charges aside, the Office of the Ombudsman is also investigating Itaye on allegations that he changed his name from Godfrey Masina to Godfrey Itaye and also scrutinising his recruitment process at Macra during the administration of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
“After concerns raised by the EIB, government had no choice but to remove the CEO. Government feared the bank was going to pull out,” the source said.
The EIB is expected to pump K13 billion for the construction of the treatment works (TWIII) project in the capital city and it also expressed concern, in its letter, that government sidelined it in the recruitment of the LWB CEO, which it said was an agreement with Capital Hill following previous corruption reports at LWB.
EIB feared that the charges raised against Itaye were to negatively impact on the bank’s ability to conclude the finance contract with the Ministry of Finance as they were unable to have persons under criminal charges involved in their project