Malawi Government has removed Ben Botolo as Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Energy and Mines and demoted him to PS II in the Economic Planning and Development Ministry, The Nation has learnt.
But the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), which confirmed the development on Monday, said the move is a normal exercise in government.
Botolo will be reporting to PS I Ted Sitimawina. This means reduced authority for Botolo but he also argued that he has not been demoted.
Said the outgoing Energy Ministry boss in an interview: â€œIt depends on the interpretation of the whole matter. I will have little responsibilities this time around as compared to working for a ministry. But, of course, the benefits and salary remain unchanged.â€
The transfer comes after the ministry was recently mentioned in a scandal in which Botolo was allegedly one of the officials who handled the award of an oil exploration licence to a Chinese firm, Sogecoa, without bidding.
But Botolo said: â€œI would not explicitly say as to why I have been re-assigned other duties but what I know is this is normal government redeployment exercise.
â€œTherefore, I cannot say the story about me trying to have a Chinese firm awarded a contract over Lake Malawiâ€™s oil exploration has led to this decision.â€
Deputy Chief Secretary responsible for Public Service Willie Samute said Botolo has been re-assigned.
â€œWhat has happened is that Mr. Botolo has been reassigned other duties in the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development. This is normal reprocessing of certain positions,â€ said Samute.