National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) deputy chief executive officer Hellen Buluma claimed that former minister of Energy Newton Kambala offered her $500 000 if Nocma awarded fuel contracts to his preferred international firms.
She said this before Lilongwe chief resident magistrate Patrick Chirwa yesterday as she continued her testimony in a case where Kambala is accused alongside Alliance for Democracy president Enoch Chihana and former chief presidential adviser Chris Chaima Banda.
The three are accused of influencing the procurement of fuel contrary to the Corrupt Practices Act.
The Nocma deputy CEO, who is the Anti- Corruption Bureau’s (ACB) principal witness in the case, admitted to have had various encounters with the three accused, in which she alleged they pushed for the award of fuel contracts to three firms of their choice Trafigura, Orxy and Finergy.
Buluma said the former minister in one of the ministry’s meetings told her that if the three companies were considered she could get a reward of $500 000.
She said: “He told me that he would instruct the suppliers to give me something. In his words, he said ‘you and your children, including your parents who should be older by now for the longest time, will not suffer.
“I was uncomfortable with that statement and I had to cite people who have been jailed for dirty deals like those. That was my last meeting with him physically.”
Buluma further said Kambala in another meeting told her if she doesn’t go along with his directive to award contracts to Trafigura, Orxy and Finergy, he would stop the fuel procurement process which at the time he had attempted through his letter to Nocma board chairperson to suspend the bid evaluation and procurement.
She, however, added that Kambala went ahead to call a meeting of transporters in Lilongwe where he promised them 100 percent of Nocma fuel business.
B u l u m a s a i d o n November 6 2020, she told her team at Nocma that she was reporting the matter to the ACB.
The Nocma deputy CEO also took on the former presidential aide Banda, saying at one of the meetings he promised her a promotion to CEO.
The ACB started parading witnesses on Wednesday after the trio, pleaded not guilty to the amended charges.
The first to enter the witness box was Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) planning and research manager Charles Mphinga, whose testimony lasted for about two hours.
Buluma, so far, has the longest testimony which started on Wednesday and continued yesterday from morning to afternoon and is expected to continue this morning from 9am.
Today she will face cross-examination from the defence lawyers, who include Bright Theu, Khumbo Soko, Wapona Kita, Tryness Chihana, Gilbert Khonyongwa and George Mwale