Fuelgate: Buluma raises serious corruption allegations at NOCMA

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…MCP associated companies abusing NOCMA and fuel deals

Acting Chief Executive Officer for the National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA) Helen Buluma has resigned, saying she has been under pressure from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) politicians to fraudulently award fuel supply contracts.

In a letter dated 14 November and addressed to Secretary to President and Cabinet Colleen Zamba who is also NOCMA board chairperson, Buluma says she continued to receive relentless pressure from Zamba and Principal Secretary responsible for Energy, Mr. Alfonso Chikuni and others to bring new fuel suppliers through dubious means.

Buluma said she was told to award contracts outside the normal procurement procedures and more recently taking advantage of fuel shortages as an excuse to enter into rushed agreements.

The final trigger for Buluma was the most recent meeting which was held on 13 November 2022 which was called by the Principal Secretary for Energy at the OPC Boardrooms.

The main agenda was to discuss an expression of interest from GY and Sons to supply 40,000MT of fuel to NOCMA.

“The PS Energy in that same meeting directed that the MERA (Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority) board should declare a fuel supply emergency so that his ministry can gazette for the sole reason that this would open the opportunity for importers to take on more suppliers,” she said.

She added that Chikuni also wanted that suppliers to be hired would be the ones provided by him.

Buluma also claimed that she has been facing pressure to hand over NOCMA’s Salima depot a member of the Malawi Congress Party and his Asian investors.

Pressure also came from “One big transporter brokerage company working directly with MERA to take all of NOCMA’s transportation business and claim billions from MERA while passing the cost to the consumers “

Buluma said she wanted to always do everything according to the law and not bow down to any political pressure as she executed her duties.

“But the pressure from you Madam [Zamba] seems to suggest otherwise and directly in conflict to His Excellency’s direction on political meddling and influencing,” reads part of the letter.

Buluma recently signed a four (4) month contract at NOCMA.

Her resignation comes as the country is undergoing serious foreign exchange challenges which have affected fuel supply.

Buluma says that her last day of working in Office is the 18th November, 2022.

However, in a letter to Buluma dated 15 November, Zamba has terminated Buluma’s contract saying the NOCMA board is adhering to a determination by the Ombudsman that Buluma should be fired because her appointment was irregular.

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