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Thursday, June 13, 2024

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    Amidst allegations that Northern Region Water Board (NRWB) chairperson Frank Mwenifumbo was involved in a scheme to defraud the utility company of MK13 million through dubious payments, it has transpired that the former UTM Publicity Secretary has finally formed his own party.

    With the revelation, it is feared that apart from the MK13 million scam, there are more financial abuses that have been carried out by the former Karonga Central legislator to fund his new party.

    Mwenifumbo recently came into limelight after revelations that he approved to spend K13 million on board members involved in shortlisting candidates for the position of Chief Executive Officer.

    NRWB was expected to send its board members as well as some employees to Nkhata-Bay for a two-day meeting.

    According to a budget for the meeting, board members would have collected K1.4 million in transport, accommodation and sitting allowances for the meeting.

    But the budget, which leaked on social media, led to public outcry, forcing the board to cancel the meeting.

    Later, it transpired that Mwenifumbo connived with other Board of Directors to defraud NRWB through such payment of suspicious and hefty allowances. NRWB was already reported to have been sailing in troubled financial waters having lost K13.8 billion between 2020 and 2022.

    The board recently announced a 50 percent water tariff hike, which was only reversed by President Chakwera to cushion the consumers.

    Following the revelation of his new party to be called the National Democratic Party (NDP), concerned employees at the board have asked President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera to take disciplinary measures against Mwenifumbo or remove him fearing that he will continue using the Board’s resources to build the political entity and eventually render the company bankrupt.

    Other sources have already disclosed that of late Mwenifumbo has been using the board’s resources especially official vehicle and fuel to lay a foundation for his party.

    A concerned employee, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, said considering that Mwenifumbo once served in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime where abuse of public resources was normalized and institutionalized, he, too, should not have been entrusted with a public responsibility.

    “We are at pains and concerned that Mwenifumbo is using resources from NRWB for the benefit of his political ambitions. Assets such as vehicles and allowances meant for the operation of the water board are being diverted to support his newly formed political party.

    “Again, he has turned NRWB offices in Mzuzu and Karonga as his political offices where he holds political meetings with disregards to corporate etiquette. Our fears is that this could compromise the integrity of the Board and raise questions about the ethical implications of a public servant utilizing state resources for personal and political gains,” said one official at the Board.

    Well-placed sources have also confided in this publication that the party is also receiving enormous financial support from some undisclosed sympathizers in South Africans.

    Mwenifumbo could not be immediately reached for a comment.

    Chakwera appointed Mwenifumbo as NRWB Board Chairperson in December 2022 to oversee the operations of the sole body that provides tap water to all the five districts of the Northern Region.

    Prior to his appointment, the former Karonga Central lawmaker resigned as Publicity Secretary for the UTM Party. He claimed that he resigned on personal reasons and after serious reflection on his political career.

    However, Mwenifumbo told journalists that he remained committed and eager to continue serving Malawians in different capacities away from politics.

    It is probably against this background that President Chakwera decided to give him yet another chance to serve Malawians by appointing him to chair the Board of Directors for NRWB.


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