Malawi: Mulhakho 'Fires' Blantyre Water Board Procurement Boss Over Contracts

18 February 2020

Blantyre Water Board (BWB) has fired its procurement manager for failing to provide business contracts to members of governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) influential cultural heritage group, Mulhakho wa Alhomwe, court documents seen by Nyasa Times have revealed.

Documents at the Industrial Relations Court in Blantyre show that Andrew Puleni through his lawyers is asking the court to intervene after his removal as Procurement Manager for the State owned utility.

According to the documents, Puleni has been appointed as Administrative Manager, a position he reckons does not exist on the company's hierarchy and regard as a demotion.

But the court documents claim that the genesis of Puleni's downfall can be traced to dissatisfaction from members of the Mulhakho wa Alhomwe who allegedly made the instruction to the company's CEO to remove Puleni from his position.

According to documents, among them a signed affidavit by Puleni, BWB chief executive officer verbally informed Puleni that the members of Mulhakho had instructed the CEO to remove him from his position.

The documents do not name any of the alleged members of the tribal grouping who pressured the board.

The IRC case is being heard by the court's chairperson and first application for an injunction by Puleni to stop the transfer was made on 11th February 2020 but was unsuccessful as the court ordered for interparty hearing.

No date has been made yet for the full hearing, according to the court documents.

A lawyer representing Puleni but who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals as his law firm is also working for another party with interest on the case, said Puleni considers the new post as an attempt to just stop him from doing his work without firing him.

"He has a claim. Per hearing in court, we are seeking an order from transferring him from current position to administrative manager which he considers a lower rank. The order was not given but the judges have ordered full hearing," said the lawyer.

According to the lawyer, the BWB officials or its lawyers were not in court hence the decision to call for a full hearing.

"They were not in court. They are yet to file any defense. No date has been given on full hearing," said the lawyer.

Members of the Lhomwe heritage group are often accused of using their connections to the ruling party and the presidency to obtain business deals in government but also jobs which has often led to accusations that the DPP administration is presiding over a cronyism and nepotism.

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