Barely Nine days after Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba threatened a crack down on the Energy Regulation Board for allegedly leaking information on the excessive number of board members; all Lozi directors have been fired.
The three directors who including the Executive Director, Mr Butler Sitali had their contracts prematurely terminated by the Board with immediate effect from 6 March 2013.
Internal sources within the ERB say that the Board of the ERB which is composed of Bembas only had a marathon meeting which commenced at 09:00 hours and lasted up to around 16:00 hours on Thursday 6 March 2013.
The Board Members who attended the meeting are Dr Chabwera ( Board Chairman), Mr Robinson Mwansa , Chief Chewe, Ms Everlyn Kangwa, Mr Ellyson Mulenga and Mr Mike Kabwe.
Or see the photos and names of the board members inserted here.The sources observed that all the Directors whose contracts have been prematurely terminated happen to be Lozis. The rest of the Directors who are not Lozi have not been touched in what appears to be a politically motivated purge at the ERB.
The affected directors are Dr Mushiba Nyamazana, Director of Economic Regulation, Mr Lishomwa Muuka Board Secretary and Mr Butler Asimbuyu Sitali (captain retired ) the Executive Director.
Mr Sitali’s contract was due to expire in October this year. The Board refused to renew Dr Nyamazan’s contract which expires in April ostensibly because he would have reached the retirement age of 55. This is despite the fact that the retirement age of 55 does not apply to employees who are on contract. Government also routinely puts employees who are permanent and pensionable on contracts when they reach 55.
Even though Dr Nyamazana’s contract was due to expire in April, the Board decided to terminate it with immediate effect. Sources also say that although Mr Lishomwa’s contract had been recommended for renewal by the Human Resources Committee of the Board, the Board decided to terminate it with immediate effect.
On 26 February 2013 Wynter Kabimba threatened a crack down on the ERB. This was after a point of Order was raised in Parliament by the Monze Legislator Jack Mwimbu on the number of ERB Board Members, asking whether Government was in order to appoint 11 board members when the law provides for only 7 Board members.
In delivering his Ministerial statement in response to the Point of order, Kabimba admitted that Government had in wrongly appointed 11 members instead of 7. Kabimba went on to issue threats against the ERB staff whom he accused of having leaked the details and number of ERB Board members to the opposition members of parliament – this is despite the fact that the details and numbers of the ERB Board Members were already in the public domain .
‘What is baffling is that only Lozi directors have been removed from the ERB,’ said a source.
It will be remembered that Wynter Kabimba had chaired the Commission of Inquiry into the ERB. The Report of the Commission of Inquiry has to date not been made public although some portions of it which were leaked to the Post Newspaper alleging that an amount of K3 trillion had been stolen in fuel procurement were roundly dismissed as lacking credibility .
Insiders have also said that Mr Sitali’s relationship with the Board Chairman had deteriorated following Mr Sitali’s refusal to authorize payment of 22, 000.00 British Pounds for an advertising contract which Dr Chabwera single handedly signed with Business Focus without following tender procedure or obtaining Board approval.
The comes at a time when a Ministry of Finance senior Economist Sisuku Akapelwa was arrested by the police for allegedly defaming president Michael Sata for employing Bembas only.