Fired Malawi Posts Corporation (MPC) acting postmaster general Zachaeus Meke has taken his former employers to court for unfair dismissal.
In an application filed at the Industrial Relations Court in Blantyre on June 9 2022, Meke, through Liberty
Legal Consultants, is also demanding compensation for unfair dismissal as well as severance pay, about K61.6 million leave pay, withheld salaries, notice pay, fuel and other related benefits.
The former MPC boss, whose substantive position was deputy director of courier, argued that the Disciplinary and Appointments Committee that recommended his
dismissal, was wrongly constituted as a member of two parallel committees dominated the hearing processes.
Reads the application in part: “There were no reasons to warrant the dismissal of the applicant because usage of proceeds of the disposal of property was sanctioned by the board of directors and that there were no contrary instructions.
“The board has no jurisdiction to hire and fire employees at deputy director level. Deputy directors and all employees below are hired and fired by management.”
Meke was dismissed on grounds that while serving as MPC acting postmaster general, he misused the proceeds from the sale of MPC Zomba building.
In its defence, MPC has argued that Meke was lawfully and procedurally dismissed on alleged acts of misconduct.
MPC also denied Meke’s assertions that the audit report did not find any fault on the usage of MPC Zomba building proceeds it was duly approved by the board of directors.
MPC board chairperson Noel Mkulichi is on record as having said the decision to fire Meke was arrived at following a National Audit Office audit of how the K1.6 billion realised from the sale of its building in Zomba was managed.
But in an interview on June 2 2022, Meke dismissed Mkulichi’s assertions of insubordination, arguing that the board did not give direction on how the proceeds should be used.
Meke said MPC owed other institutions about K13 billion and that part of the proceeds were channelled to the debt.
He said: “The building was sold at K1.6 billion to Southern Region Water Board, but it [the water board] deducted about K360 million for utility bill arrears and K100 million for Malawi Revenue Authority.
“Still the hole is too big to be filled by that sum. For example about K338 million was used to pay staff salary arrears, FDH Bank deducted a bank loan of about K300 million, K100 million for bus insurance and the remaining was used to pay salaries.”
In 2021, Vice-President Saulos Chilima said government would not bail out MPC and other struggling parastatals. During an assessment of public sector reforms, MPC had sought a bailout, but Chilima challenged the corporation to devise a turnaround strategy.