The ‘fired’ Flames crew remain govt employees
Members of the fired Flames coaching panel might end up pocketing millions of kwacha if the Monday meeting scheduled to hear them out ends in the termination of their contracts, Weekend Nation has learnt.
Kinnah Phiri alone stands to earn K18 million.
Asked on his next move, Kinnah said on Thursday he is waiting for the outcome of the meeting.
“The outcome of the meeting will give me direction. Let’s wait and see,” said Kinnah.
Attorney General (AG) Anthony Kamanga confirmed receiving a request from Sports Minister Enoch Chihana on termination of contracts for Kinnah and his colleagues. He said the advice was confidential to the Ministry of Sports and he could not be drawn to say what consequences government faces if FAM wrongly terminated the contracts.
While confirming the Monday meeting, Sports Council executive secretary George Jana said he was not part of the meeting that recommended the firing of the three.
“We were not involved in the decision. It was FAM’s recommendation,” said Jana.
Asked on the possibility of the three continuing in their capacities if not found in the wrong, Chihana said to his knowledge, Kinnah and company are not fired.
“It is up to them whether to choose to resign or continue working, but as of now. they are still employees of government,” said Chihana.
He said his Principal Secretary II Justin Saidi will preside over the meeting with Kinnah, his assistant Young Chimodzi, technical adviser Jack Chamangwana, FAM and Sports Council.
“They will give me a report of the meeting, then we can decide on the way forward,” said Chihana.
According to him, Kinnah has a two-year contract worth K18 million which he signed on October 3 2012 and was supposed to serve until April 2014. But Chihana could not be drawn to disclose the value of the contracts of Kinnah’s colleagues.
He said he is aware of the consequences of firing someone without proper procedures and that is why government sought the opinion of the AG.
“The Employment Act demands that government employees recommended to be fired must defend themselves from the accusations laid against them; hence, the meeting we have convened in Blantyre,” he said.
A senior government official privy to details of the employment of Kinnah and his colleagues said it is straight forward that government will have to pay off the three an equivalent of what they would have earned had they finished their contracts plus compensation.
“The reason FAM gave [for firing Kinnah] was bad results, but many factors contribute to poor results and it might be that it was not the fault of the technical staff. In the case of Flames, there were a lot of problems. If they want to terminate his contract, then they need to pay him off the remainder of the contract unless they have another reason,” said the source.
Former FAM general secretary Charles Nyirenda said contractural issues are sensitive and require advice from lawyers.
“I was not there when [Bukhard] Ziese was employed, but I joined FAM when he had started legal proceedings against the association. I think Mr. Chihana has taken the right step to seek legal opinion on the issue before making the final decision to terminate contracts of the three,” said Nyirenda.
In 2006, FAM paid heavily when it fired Ziese who had his contract running until the end of the year, but was dismissed for alleged breach of the terms of his deal.
He appealed to Fifa and the case went in his favour.
“To someone who is not conversant with the law, the issue of Kinnah might look straight forward, but to a lawyer, there might be some hitches.
“A lot of things could contribute to poor results such as bad preparations,” said Nyirenda.
He cited as an example the Flames Cecafa trip to Uganda, where the Flames went without being prepared and the boycott by the players due to unpaid dues.
“All those factors come into play to contribute to failure. Even the loss against Bafana Bafana could not be attributed on Kinnah. Bafana Bafana had a year to prepare for the Nations Cup and have been playing international games all over the continent. How do you expect Malawi to beat them?” Nyirenda asked.
In an interview with our sister paper The Nation, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu insisted that they followed the right procedure by recommending the coaching panel’s removal to government. n