The Office of the Ombudsman has asked Tobacco Commission chief executive officer (CEO) Kayisi Sadala to explain alleged acts of bias, nepotism and irregularities in recruitment, promotion and secondment of some staff under his watch.
In a letter dated October 21 2020 Ref: OMB/CONF/128 addressed to Sadala, Ombudsman Martha Chizuma said her office’s investigation is based on a complaint alleging that Sadala, among other things, facilitated the recruitment of five people without interviews.
The Ombudsman mentioned head of human resource and administration Emily Banda, human resources manager David Jose, deputy CEO Levison Phelani and information technology officers Atupele Njinga and Atupele Njaka.
Reads the letter in part: “For avoidance of doubt, I would like your comments to touch on the process that was used for recruitment of Emily Banda, Levison Phelani, David Jose, Atupele Njinga and Atupele Njaka i.e. the declaration of vacancy, the adverts for the positions, the short listing process, the interview process and the offer to successful candidates.”
The letter also said the position of deputy CEO does not exist in the commission’s establishment.
Sadala is also being investigated for allegedly facilitating sale of two of the commission’s institutional houses to Leader of Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa and former Democratic Progressive Party spokesperson Nicholas Dausi contrary to a government ban on such transactions.
Other allegations against the CEO, whose contract is scheduled to expire early November, include promotion of Sharifa Jefu from clerk to supervisor before the end of his probation, alleged granting of a contract to his personal secretary to supply to the commission sanitisers and face masks without following procedures.
The letter also adds that Sadala allegedly maintained the commission’s public relations officer Juliana Chidumu on the payroll despite that for the past five years she was on secondment at the Malawi High Commission in India.
On allegations of abuse of power, the Ombudsman is demanding a comprehensive submission on the processes followed in the granting of the contract for the supply of personal protective equipment and hand sanitisers and the disposal of the two houses.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Chizuma confirmed writing the letter.
On his part Sadala, who is on leave pending expiry of contract on November 6 2020, said he had only seen the letter on social media.
He said: “As you know I am on leave pending my end of contract, I will attend to it once received.”
Our investigations show that on June 18 2020, five days before the court-ordered June 23 Fresh Presidential Election, the Office of the President and Cabinet through the former comptroller of Statutory Corporations Stuart Ligomeka appointed Emily Banda as Tobacco Commission director of human resources and administration.