Enoch Chihana at the court

By Chrissy Mkumba

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA) acting Chief Executive Officer Helen Buluma on Thursday, January 20, 2022 revealed that she was told she would be given US$500,000 (about K410 million) if she corruptly awarded contracts to companies favoured by the then Minister of Energy Newton Kambala.

Buluma made the revelations when testifying at Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Court in the case in which Kambala, Alliance for Democracy president Enock Chihana and former presidential aide Chris Chaima Banda are accused of interfering in the fuel procurement process at NOCMA.

As the bidding process for the fuel supply contracts was still in progress, Kambala approached Buluma and asked that contracts be awarded to Finergy, Orex and Trafigura.

According to Buluma, Kambala claimed that he had power to make sure that Buluma was taken care of even if she were fired.

“He said he would defend me but if that doesn’t happen, he would advise the suppliers who won the bids to give me US$500,000,” said Buluma.

The NOCMA acting chief told the court that she refused to flout procedures.

In response, Kambala warned Buluma that he had the powers to cancel the tender process or instruct Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority to block the procurement process.

As NOCMA continued with the process of identifying successful bidders, Kambala wrote NOCMA Board, suspending the process of evaluating the bids.

The Minister claimed that there had been complaints from bidders.

But the NOCMA board told Kambala that it met on December 2, 2020 and unanimously agreed that the management should proceed with the evaluation of the bids.

Buluma has also  told the court that she has recordings from the meeting she had with Chris Chaima Banda at Kang’ombe house in Lilongwe and a meeting she had with the Minister of Finance, Chaima Banda and Kambala as well as another meeting she had Kambala.

ACB Director General Martha Chizuma is expected that Buluma will conclude testifying today afternoon.

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