Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Court agrees with Ombudsman Hellen Buluma was irregularly recruited

Hellen Buluma

Hellen Buluma, former Deputy Chief Executive Officer of National Oil Company of Malawi Limited (NOCMA), was irregularly employed such that the employment was null and void and that she is not entitled to emoluments, terminal benefits or other payments accrued to her during the time Buluma rendered her services to NOCMA in that capacity, the High Court has intimated.

Judge Mike Tembo delivering the ruling recounted the facts of the case that Buluma was appointed as Deputy CEO of NOCMA on the directive of the former President of the Republic of Malawi, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika. Thereafter, the Ombudsman got a complaint from a number of persons and upon a thorough analysis of the relevant framework for the appointment to the position to which the claimant was appointed found that the appointment was void ab initio meaning that the appointment was void from the beginning and had no legal effect. According to the Ombudsman, Buluma was appointed by the wrong authority namely, the former President of the Republic instead of the Board of Directors of NOCMA, and without following the relevant procedures of advertisement and competitive open recruitment applicable to NOCMA.

According to the Court, Buluma did not provide a legal basis to assail the well-taken legal position of the Ombudsman in her determination, which was supported by legal authority, to the effect that it is not possible to cure an illegal recruitment which was not made by the rightful authority as the Board of NOCMA had attempted to by ratifying Buluma’s illegal appointment.

The court has set the pace that illegality remains illegality whether it has been done by a President or any person.


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