33 employees fired at Tobacco Commission over illegal recruitment

Tobacco Commission (TC) has fired 33 employees, including several workers named in an Ombudsman report as having joined the commission without any interviews.

The firing of the 33 follows a personnel audit conducted by the commission. It also coincides with a report released by the Office of the Ombudsman on illegal recruitment at the commission.

The report released yesterday and signed by the then Ombudsman Martha Chizuma, mentions David Jose, son to former Inspector General of Police Rodney Jose, and Sheripher Banda who is a daughter to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary General Grezelder Jeffrey as those recruited without interviews.

According to the report, Banda was employed as a Liaison Officer by the Commission without going through any sort of interviews and then two months later was given a supervisory role without proper scrutiny of her capabilities and qualifications.

“This was unreasonable and unjustifiable, therefore maladministration. This irregular recruitment gave her an unfair advantage where she was subsequently interviewed for the position of Registration and Licensing Supervisor as an internal candidate,” said Chizuma.

Chizuma then directed that the contract of Ms. Sheripher Banda was irregular and should be terminated.

In Jose’s case, Chizuma said Jose was an intern at the Commission but was later offered the position of Human Resource Assistant which was irregular as the position required someone who was an internal candidate.

She also directed the firing of Jose.

The Ombudsman also faulted the recruitment of Levi Phelani as Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Emily Banda Egolet as the Head of Human Resources and Administration, both of whom were appointed by the then president Peter Mutharika.

Chizuma said the appointment of the two, who were fired last year, was contrary to the dictates of the Constitution as read together with the Tobacco Industries Act, thus was maladministration.

 

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