Malawi: Chikuni Turns Down Secondment to Mainstream Civil Service, Resigns

12 December 2019

Engineer Alfonso Chikuni who has been removed as Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) chief executive officer (CEO) and seconded to Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development as chief director responsible for irrigation and water development, has decided not to take up the post as he has resigned, Nyasa Times understands.

Chikuni: Not going for secondment

Chief Secretary to the Government Lloyd Muhara had asked Chikuni to take up the post in the mainstream civil service immediately.

But the engineer has turned down the secondment and decided to go.

"He is resigning completely. His contract is to end in March 2020 so instead of running it down, he has opted to resign," a source at the Office of President and Cabinet told Nyasa Times.

"He is planning to take a personal sabbatical and travel around the world while exploring his next move. First stop is China where he is expecting to spend festive holidays with family," the source added.

Chikuni could not grant an interview on the matter.

He has been replaced by Director of Corporate Services, Moses Mwenye in an acting capacity.

Mwenye will have to step in and redeem LWB from the concerns of alleged corrupt pracises in procurement of services including the way the board intends to award contract to Sawa Group including huge debts it cannot pay.

LWB obtained a $17 million (about K12.5 billion) loan from National Bank of Malawi (NBM) to meet some preparatory works for the K400 billion water project awarded to South Africa-based engineering firm Khato Civils, requiring it to pay NBM close to K600 million monthly.

Nonetheless, under Chikuni's leadership, LWB was transformed from a loss-making parastatal to a profit-making one, increased supply coverage from 69 percent in 2014 to 83.4 percent in 2018, increased number of customers and connections from 60 000 to 83 500 and increased revenue collection through enhanced strategies, innovation and building customer loyalty.

Chikuni become a second CEO from State enterprise this month to be seconded to Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development. The first one was Margret Roka-Mauwa who was removed as head of Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc).

Mauwa's removal was a direct reaction to threats of an industrial action Admarc employees made. The staff at State produce trader also demanded the removal of director of finance Harold Mwala and company secretary James Kaphale on allegations of abuse of office and mismanagement of resources.

Roka-Mauwa was seconded to Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development as controller of agricultural extension and technical services according to a letter dated December 2 2019 signed by Muhara.

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