It has been long time coming but her dismissal was coming and Tuesday 15th November, 2022 was the day controversial Acting deputy chief executive officer of the National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA) Hellen Buluma had to be shown the exit door.
Acting on the Ombudsman’s determination which instructed NOCMA board to dismiss Buluma for being allegedly unprocedurally employed at NOCMA, the board finally terminated Buluma’s contract, bringing an end the reign of controversy at the oil parastatal.
In the termination letter signed by Colleen Zamba who in her capacity as the Secretary to the President Cabinet (SPC) is the Board Chair of NOCMA reads: ‘’it is evident from the updated advice that NOCMA is compelled to undertake the determination of the Ombudsman even if disagreed. Any review rights are the domain of the Courts. Consequently, I regret to inform you that you have been relieved from duties, effective immediately in compliance with Ombudsman’s determination’’
However, the defiant Buluma seemed to have been tipped of her dismissal and she reacted quickly to a tip off by writing her resignation letter and even went a step further to clandestinely backdate the letter to 14th November which many believe it was a move to change the narrative that she was fired.
The letter reads: “Kindly accept my resignation and inform me about all relieving formalities that need to be fulfilled. I am available to handover to whomsoever you may direct to take over. I request that I be allowed to avail myself at the office for such hand overs until Friday, the 18th November 2022; after which I seek to proceed on leave”
The tone of her long resignation letter which exuded the impression of her self-importance blamed everyone from the Secretary to the President and Cabinet which to the Secretary of Energy except herself.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Information and Digitalization has come in to clarify that Buluma’s resignation letter which was accessed by the public first before the letter of her dismissal from NOCMA Board came after she was already relieved from her responsibilities and the Office of President and Cabinet was not furnished with her letter of resignation.
It says: ‘’Her letter of resignation which she is circulating over social media platforms has come after this relief from her responsibilities and has never been submitted to the office of President and Cabinet’’
Buluma’s reign had been ridden by controversies such that she was always in the news for the wrong reasons and people were wondering how she has managed to last that long at that important institution. Buluma was also known during her stint at NOCMA with blackmailing high-profile people while projecting himself as the only clean at the oil company.
Buluma who worked as an acting CEO absence of one will not only go down in history as the controversial top most senior figure at NOCMA but the most chaotic Deputy CEO after presiding over one of the worst periods in as far as the fuel supply in the country is concerned.