Some concerned staff have written the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate the recruitment of Roads Authority (RA) chief executive officer (CEO) Engineer Emmanuel Matapa.
A leaked letter dated March 31 2021 by the RA staff alleges that his appointment flouted the institution’s appointment procedures and conditions of service.
Reads the letter in part: “To our knowledge, the CEO post was not advertised and interviews were not held, which is against the requirements of the RA conditions of service.”
Written under the banner ‘Anonymous Concerned Staff’, the letter further states that Matapa’s recruitment was unfair as it did not offer other deserving officers a chance to compete as good practice demands.
Section 21 (1) of the Roads Authority Act states that the board shall appoint management staff of the authority on such terms and conditions as the board shall, in its discretion and determination.
In an interview yesterday, Ombudsman Martha Chizuma, acknowledged that her office received the letter, saying a decision will be made whether to launch an investigation this week.
She said: “Yes, we did receive the letter. It is going through screening and by the end of this week we should know whether we will investigate this matter or not. Of course, it is not only the CEO. We have received another letter concerning other officers and we are screening them, too.”
However, Chizuma said she could not divulge more details on the other officers as it could jeopardise the whole process.
Efforts to speak to Matapa yesterday proved futile as he did not pick up our phone calls on numerous attempts.
When contacted, RA board chairperson Joe Ching’ani said as a board, they are not aware of such developments.
He said: “Right now we are touring road projects in Nsanje. So, maybe the issue may have popped up in my absence. But when I get back to the office I will revert.”
Matapa was appointed as RA CEO by the board on August 5 2017, succeeding Engineer Trevor Hiwa who was fired in June 2017 over the awarding of a K217 million contract in 2016 to a company in which he had an interest.
Hiwa was found guilty of abuse of office by the RA board disciplinary committee at a meeting held on May 11 2017 in Lilongwe.
RA, which falls under the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, was established by an Act of Parliament number 3 of 2006 and its mandate is to ensure public roads are maintained and rehabilitated at all times.