Ministry of Health and Population has ordered Malawi Against Physical Disabilities, formerly Malawi Against Polio (MAP), to constitute a new board within three months and produce audited financial statements following alleged deterioration of governance at the institution.
The ministry’s demand follows a protracted wrangle between MAP general manager (GM) Sydney Ndembe and the institution’s board over alleged mismanagement.
The board, which was allegedly rendered ineffective in November 2016, according to a memo we have seen by the board’s acting chairperson, Edna Chipofya, recommended the GM’s retirement.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango confirmed, in an interview on Friday, that the ministry was aware of problems at MAP, disclosing that the institution was given three months—from May 15 2018—to constitute a new board and produce audited financial statements.
Another source at the ministry showed us a letter Secretary for Health Dan Namarika wrote Ndembe, dated May 15 2018, warning that government’s financial support to the institution would only continue if a number of issues are addressed, including the appointment of a new board.
Reads part of Namarika’s letter: “It is in the interest of government to have a well-functioning MAP to ensure that the services it provides to citizens of this country are available on a sustainable basis.”
Namarika, in the letter, complains that the ministry has noted with concern the general deterioration of the state of governance in MAP.
“We note that the board of trustees has not been in operation for close to two years, yet in the governance architecture of MAP, it is trustees who collectively have the overall mandate over the operations of the organisation.
“The absence of the board of trustees has significant implications on the operations of MAP as important decisions that require its legitimisation are being implemented irregularly,” reads the letter.
The Secretary for Health said the situation puts at risk financial resources that the government makes available to the organisation as the legitimate authority entrusted to manage affairs of the trust is not in existence.
In the letter, the PS said the role of management is to implement the decisions of the board of trustees and cannot, therefore, undertake decisions that are a preserve of the trustees as the case seems to be at the moment.
“In the current state of affairs, it is evident that management is usurping the powers of the Board of Trustees. It is clear that MAP has been operating without an approved budget for the period the board has not been in operation.
“As you are aware, it is the existence of a well-functioning board of trustees that gives MAP a posture of integrity and credence. The ministry finds it unacceptable that the organisation has not been audited by external auditors in a long time, to validate the appropriateness of management.
He notes that the current state of governance at the institution is not conducive for government to continue streaming its resources into MAP without the risk of financial mismanagement, maladministration and even abuse.
Chipofya said in the memo that 60, and is said to have worked as the institution’s GM since 1986.the GM is past his retirement age.
The board also accused Ndembe of acting without its approval in many cases, including in the sale of institutional houses.
Chipofya complained in the memo that some programmes have stalled and proposed to have him [Ndembe] retire as he had already reached his retirement age.
Ndembe, in an interview on Wednesday, said a suggestion to have him retire was made based on his illness when he suffered stroke, arguing that he is able to run the institution, but the problem is that donors who used to support the institution pulled out.
He said the decision to sell institutional houses was made with the board’s approval and with a sole reason to ensure