The National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) has suspended indefinitely three employees for being suspected of leaking information on Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Hellen Buluma’s undeserved security detail.
According to the letters of suspension, the three are being accused of “gross misconduct relating to unauthorised disclosure of confidential office documents to unauthorised parties”.
A report in Weekend Nation t revealed that Nocma is now paying K3.9 million for Buluma’s personal security which she is not entitled.
The suspended employees are Security Officer, Peter Chilenje, Financial Accountant Manager, Mavuto Ndalahoma, and an Office Assistant, Paul Lapozo.
Nocma is said to have approached the Malawi Police Service and hired four police officers with two guns to guard Buluma’s residence and a gun totting close protection officer (CPO) to babysit her daily. A CPO or personal bodyguard is reserved for senior officials such as judges, ministers and their deputies, Malawi Electoral Commission commissioners, Speaker of the National Assembly and Leader of Opposition, according to police sources.
Nation news also quoted National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera confirming the same.
“Nocma requested for the services of our officers just like how any person can come to our offices and request to hire officers for a wedding event or anything like that.” According to a copy of Conditions of Service for Nocma employees, the State oil firm’s CEO and the deputy are entitled to a day security guard and two night security guards plus an alarm or rapid response system.
But a payment request for June 2021, that we have seen, show that the firm’s deputy boss’ security detail is way beyond her entitlement, gobbling nearly half—K3.9 million—of the institution’s monthly police security expenses, according to the report.
In her explanation, Buluma claims that her life is under threat owing to being an AntiCorruption Bureau (ACB) witness and whistle-blower in the fuel procurements saga. She did not indicate where the alleged threats were coming from and neither has she informed the ACB about the need for police security. It is not clear how the Nocma Board of Directors, which is chaired by Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Zanga Zanga Chikhosi will handle both the issue of abuse of Nocma resources and the suspension of the three employees, who may be merely victims of circumstances