Kambala (2nd from R) and Chihana (3rd from R) at the court
National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA) acting Chief Executive Officer Helen Buluma has told a court in Lilongwe that former Minister of Energy Newton Kambala told her she could lose her job if she did not follow his instructions in relation to the NOCMA fuel deals.
Buluma is the second witness for the Anti–Corruption Bureau (ACB) 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.
The three are suspected to have committed the crimes at a time NOCMA was handling bids for the 2020-21 fuel supply contracts.
Testifying at the Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Court today, Buluma said Kambala while working as Minister of Energy invited her to his office where he told her he was in touch with a company called Trafigura which was one of the companies that had bid for the fuel supply contracts.
Kambala also talked about a company called Oryx and said officials from the two companies were expected to come to Malawi regarding the fuel supply contracts.
According to Buluma, when she told Kambala that NOCMA officials were not supposed to meet bidders, the then minister insisted that he was in charge of the procurement process.
Kambala, according to Buluma, told the NOCMA acting boss to do what she was being told to do and warned that she risked losing her job if she could not do as instructed.
Buluma further told the court that she earlier met Chaima Banda who told her that Chihana and Kambala were working for the President and that he was a linkman.
Chaima Banda wanted Buluma to give a contract to a company called Finergy Oil company for the supply of 40,000 metric tonnes contract of fuel.
Buluma also revealed that before NOCMA had completed the tender process, officials from Trafigura PTE Limited came to Malawi and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ministry of energy and ministry of finance on fuel supply.
Chaima Banda, Kambala and Chihana yesterday pleaded not guilty to the charge of trying to influence a public officer to abuse office in the procurement of fuel contrary to the Corrupt Practices Act.
The ACB is expected to parade about seven witnesses in the case.
The three suspects are being represented by several lawyers including Wapona Kita, Bright Theu, Khumbo Soko, Gilbert Khonyongwa, George Mtchuka Mwale.