Government has terminated contracts of some high ranking officials, including principal secretaries (PSs) and directors while an unspecified number of officers on secondment have been redeployed to their parent employers.
In an interview yesterday, Deputy Secretary to the President and Cabinet Janet Banda confirmed the changes, but could not provide a list of the affected officials, saying the list was confidential between employer and employee.
She said some of those whose contracts have been terminated are those whose recruitment was deemed faulty.
Said Banda: “The basis for termination of contracts is that engagement of officers on contract terms in the civil service requires that the individual possesses special skills or expertise not available in the civil service.
“Most of the officers on fixed term contracts do not possess any special skills or expertise. Engagement of these officers has blocked career progression of civil servants engaged on permanent terms of employment.”
She said the contract of employment signed by the affected officers provided options for officers or government to terminate such contracts.
Capital Hill sources confided that the affected officers include Department of Reforms chief director Seodi White, director of Information Mzati Nkolokosa, deputy director of Information Deogratias Mmana and former broadcaster Timpuza Mwansambo.
In an interview, Minister of Information Gospel Kazako confirmed the termination of the contract for White, Nkolokosa, Mmana and others. He said “more will be done to ensure sanity in the evil service”.
Efforts to speak to White proved futile as her phone went unanswered as we went to press last evening.
Our source said the affected officers were not in the mainstream civil service prior to their contracts while those seconded from other departments such as journalists from Malawi Broadcasting Corporation will be returning to the public broadcaster.
The issue of contracts, transfers and secondment of officers in government has become a touchy issue following two leaked internal memos from Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe cautioning against unnecessary transfers, secondments and dismissal of public officers.
In a memo addressed to Vice-President Saulos Chilima, Secretary to the President and Cabinet Zanga Zanga Chikhosi and all heads of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), focusing on a wide range of issues surrounding contracts of government employees and transfers from one department to another, Silungwe said: “Secondment is provided for under Regulations 1.175 and I.176 of the MPSR. Any purported secondment outside this legal framework is illegal.
“Secondment is a temporary movement of an employee with consent from one ministry, department or agency to another to perform the function of a position that already exists or to take up a special project.
“The employee maintains his or her substantive position in the ‘sending’ ministry, department or agency. More critically, the secondment must be at the request of the ‘receiving’ ministry, department or agency.”
In two years, government has paid a whopping K29 billion in illegal dismissals, poorly drafted contracts, transfers and redeployment of heads of MDAs, according to an assessment by the Attorney General’s office.