Oxfam Malawi country director John Makina has distanced his organisation’s involvement in the case of illegal possession of precious stones and smuggling involving an employee of Oxfam South Africa, Lerato Motaung.
Motaung was arrested on April 12 at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) for being found in possession of precious stones from Malawi without documentation and clearance to take such stones outside the country.
During one of the meetings with officials from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, there was an allegation that Oxfam was stealing precious stones from the country and one of their employees was caught in the act.
However, in an interview, Makina said: “Oxfam International and Oxfam in Malawi would like to distance itself from the illegal possession of precious stones [reserved minerals] by Lerato, who was arrested by police at KIA. We do not have whatsoever connection to this. We believe Lerato did this in her own capacity.”
On Friday, Parliament’s Natural Resources and Climate Change Committee summoned Oxfam to clarify the allegation and explain why one of their employees was found with the precious stones.
Committee chairperson Werani Chilenga told The Nation that they wanted to get to the bottom of the matter.
Chilenga added that Oxfam explained to them their stand and they are convinced that one Lerato did that in her capacity.
“Even now Oxfam South Africa has laid her off following the scenario that took place, so as a committee we are convinced she did this on her own capacity,” he said.
Motaung was found with four precious stones in her bags at KIA. n