Four months after government transferred chief immigration officer Masauko Medi back to the Malawi Police Service (MPS), he remains in-charge at the department, raising questions as to what really happened.
However, some sources at the department told Nation on Sunday that they suspected the transfer was politically motivated and that the communication from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) about his transfer and a subsequent decision to let him stay put at the department were both verbal.
The Immigration Department—through its spokesperson Joseph Chauwa—in an interview last Wednesday admitted that both communications from OPC for Medi to move and later to stay on were verbal.
But sources said in the manner things happened, invisible hands could be seen orchestrating his removal after he gave them a cold shoulder to play ball in some underhand dealings.
One highly-placed source at the department disclosed that Medi was a victim of political machinations as some politicians were not happy with him after he brought in strict measures to prevent the willy-nilly issuance of work permits, business permits and citizenship to foreigners, among others, associated with corruption.
Chauwa said about the verbal communication: “He got a call like on a Thursday, advising him he was being redeployed to police and that a letter would follow.
“The following week, I think on a Tuesday, when he was supposed to go to the office for handovers, another call came from OPC, advising him to proceed and continue working [at Immigration]. This was after he had already communicated to his senior colleagues about his redeployment.”
Chauwa declined to take questions on political interference, but responding to questions on irregular issuance of permits, said cases of issuing permits to foreigners that did not qualify, including passports, was an embarrassment to the department.
Former Minister of Information Jappie Mhango told Nation on Sunday in March this year that Medi was being moved back to MPS where he came from before his appointment to Immigration in February 2015.
Mhango—now Home Affairs and Internal Security Affairs minister—a most likely competent person to comment having confirmed that time about Medi’s removal when he was Information minister and now that Immigration falls under his Home Affairs and Internal Security ministry, said the matter was administrative and not policy in nature; hence he could not comment on it.
Chief Secretary to Government George Mkondiwa, whose office was at the centre of Medi’s verbal redeployment and the subsequent decision not to move him, declined to comment, saying it was a government issue and Ministry of Information was better placed to comment on it.
President Peter Mutharika appointed Medi as Chief Immigration Officer in February 2015, replacing Hudson Mankhwala. n