Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) has instituted investigations on its director of administration and corporate secretary Daniel Kalaya over allegations that his law firm, Liberty Legal Consultants, collected K14 million on behalf of the public broadcaster without its authority.
However, Kalaya, who has since been suspended, expressed surprise with the allegations saying he engaged the law firm with MBC management knowledge.
MBC board chairperson Moffat Banda, who signed Kalaya’s suspension letter, confirmed the development, saying the company secretary was suspended pending investigations into the matter.
“If the allegations are proved to be true, he will face disciplinary action or otherwise he will continue working for the MBC,” he said.
The suspension letter dated October 5 2015 observes that Liberty Legal Consultants had no prior instructions from MBC’s director general and or management to collect the money in question.
The letter, which states that Kalaya’s name was appearing as one of the legal practitioners in the legal firm—observed that Roof House made payments to the legal firm on July 30, 2015, on August 30, 2015 and August 17, 2015, yet MBC was only informed of the payments on September 18 2015 after an impromptu management meeting.
“Messrs Liberty Legal Consultants unilaterally and without instructions made partial remittance of the funds collected from Roof House directly to Malawi Revenue Authority on September 14 2015 and September 18, 2015 over 2 months [after] the [the first] cheque was paid and over a month after the second cheque was paid.
“Messrs Liberty Legal Consultants erroneously paid themselves legal fees of amounting to K3 531 694.82 without instructions from the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation and your conduct on the Roof House transaction and your association with Messrs Liberty Legal Consultants is very suspect,” reads the suspension letter.
MBC accuses the company secretary of violating provision 9.2, provision 9.4.4. and 9.5.4 of MBC’s staff terms and conditions of service.
“The board of directors has, therefore, decided to suspend you from duty with immediate effect pending thorough investigations and conclusion of the matter,” reads the letter.
However, Kalaya said in an interview he was surprised with the accusations levelled against him, saying the issues about involvement of the law firm were discussed in several management meetings and nobody questioned the company.
“MBC legal portfolio has kept on changing due to, among other things, outstanding legal fees with certain lawyers and the political nature of some claims against MBC.
As such, the legal section used its discretion to pick Liberty Legal Consultants to handle the claims due to the fact that it is not owed anything by the corporation,” he said.
Kalaya admitted to have registered the law firm but said he was not the one running the daily operations of the company.
He said the firm indeed received money from Roof Top Agency and he had to seek management direction regarding how the firm was to disburse the cheques where he was told that he should deposit the money with MRA.