The Office of the Ombudsman has faulted former Blantyre Water Board (BWB) boss Eng. Daniel Chaweza for staying at the company house for three years without paying rent and for getting an allocation of 1100 litres of fuel per month as if he was required to travel from Nsanje to Chitipa seven times a month.
This is contained in a report which the then Ombudsman Martha Chizuma released on May 31.
According to the report, Chaweza was hired as BWB chief executive officer (CEO) in 2017 and he occupied a company house in Nyambadwe.
Chizuma found that the contract of employment for CEOs clearly provides for their privileges and there is no mention for a free house.
She admitted that BWB does not have a policy on the use of the house but previous CEOs were paying rent for the house while Chaweza was not paying.
“I do not understand therefore why with such a good precedent on record, Eng. Chaweza was occupying this house for free. Integrity demands that he should have followed suit as there is no provision in his contract nor the SSR that he would be given free accommodation,” said Chizuma.
She described Chaweza’s nonpayment of rentals as abuse of office and public resources and therefore maladministration.
Chizuma then ordered BWB to calculate the house rentals for the period that Chaweza stayed without paying for the rentals.
“Eng. Chaweza should pay the rentals by 31st August, 2021. My office should be furnished with the report on the same by 30th September 2021,” said Chizuma.
She also directed BWB to put in place regulations to safeguard the use of the institutional house by 31st August, 2021.
On fuel, it was found that Chaweza as CEO was allocated 500 litres of fuel per month and allowed to draw fuel from BWB pump for external travel – to areas outside the board’s supply.
However, management in 2019 agreed to increase this allocation by 600 litres.
Current Board Chairperson Mr. George Nnesa told Chizuma that there was no request made from Management to the new Board to approve the new fuel allocation and the same had not been submitted for its consideration.
The new allocation was stopped after the new board came in last year and Eng. Chaweza was asked to pay back a total of MK3,800,000 worth of fuel he had drawn.
Chizuma in her analysis questioned why BWB management saw it to be impossible for Chaweza to be drawing fuel from the BWB pump for external trips as it was the case with all other officers.
“One wonders why suddenly in September 2019, the former CEO had numerous ad hoc external trips requiring this set 600 litres of fuel a month when since November 2017 when he assumed the CEO role there was no such request.
“With his new allocation of 1100 litres a month, when one considers that one litre of fuel covers 14 kilometers, it means that in a month, the former CEO was covering 15, 400 kilometers. He was basically driving a return trip from Chitipa to Nsanje seven times in a month. No ordinary operations can justify this,” said Chizuma.