The Public Appointments Committee of Parliament (PAC) has confirmed the appointment of seasoned private practice lawyer Innocentia Ottober as the new board chairperson of Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA).
The lawyer was confirmed on Friday after she appeared before the committee alongside two others.
Ottober replaces another private practice lawyer John Suzi Banda who resigned early this month after President Lazarus Chakwera suspended him on June 21 2022 following an a Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) report, implicating him in an alleged corruption scandal involving United Kingdom-based businessperson Zuneth Sattar.
PAC chairperson Joyce Chitsulo confirmed the development in an interview on Saturday saying Ottober will be deputised by Jacob Nyirongo, Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) chief executive officer.
She said the committee received three names from the appointing authority for confirmation and all the candidates excelled. The third, Amos Nyambo, was confirmed as board member.
Ottober was nominated by the Malawi Law Society, Nyirongo has joined the board under the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry while Nyambo is from the Malawi Institute of Procurement and Supply.
“The Act says the responsible minister should get the nominations from such professional bodies where the three individuals have come from. So we had no problems with them.
“Their credentials as well as track records had no issues. For instance, in terms of qualifications the Act stipulates that the candidates must possess first degree in their fields and also in terms of experience they all qualified,” said Chitsulo.
The chairperson also said the committee wanted to know new things the team would bring to the institution “which they ably articulated.”
“But we also dwelt much on how they will make sure that PPDA is corrupt-free because there is a lot of corruption in procurement and we were convinced and we had no issues against them, I think they will do well,” added Chitsulo.
On her part, Ottober confirmed appearing before the committee but in an interview on Saturday she said was yet to be communicated.
“Unfortunately, I can’t say anything now, it will be premature for me to comment because I don’t have any official communication. But I can confirm that I appeared before the committee on Friday afternoon for confirmation hearing,” she said.
In September 2020, Chakwera appointed Ottober as board member of National Oil Company (Nocma) but she resigned some few months ago on personal grounds.
Ottober, who has served as a lawyer since May 1995, is also a commissioner for Police Service Commission and sits on the board of Old Mutual.