MRA admits 'nepotism' error in firing staff
The beleaguered Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has admitted a 2010 August restructuring that led to 215 employees losing their jobs was not done properly; hence, a need to re-look into the matter.
Most of those fired had accused the agency of blatant nepotism during the restructuring. This happened at the height of Mutharika's Mulhakho project which saw key posts in important places taken by Mutharika's home boys including that of the MRA Chief Executive.
A circular from MRA commissioner general John Biziwick dated July 5 2012 to members of staff states that the board of directors approved MRA management’s request to review implementation of the restructuring exercise which took place in August 2010.
Most of the 215 employees who lost their jobs during the restructuring exercise dragged MRA to the Industrial Relations Court (IRC) in Blantyre for redress and had argued that fair labour practices were not followed when they were retrenched.
Meanwhile, MRA, which was defending the case at IRC, on Thursday asked for an adjournment when the matter came for continued hearing on grounds that something has happened which would affect proceedings.
Private practising lawyer representing MRA, Patrice Nkhono, told the court that the tax revenue collecting body has invited applications from former MRA employees interested to come back.
Nkhono said there were many applications and that some of the people that applied are claimants in the case.
He said the situation has potential of changing nature of the claims and the defence MRA may put if some claimants are taken back.
Nkhono asked for 30 days to allow MRA work out on the applications and consultations between MRA and some of the claimants (on possible re-engagement) and how other settlements could be made.
Lawyer Noel Chalamanda, representing the claimants, told the court it was true he had tentative discussions with his colleague Nkhono, but said the matter has delayed for too long and asked the court to set a date to be complied by both parties.
Jack N’riva of IRC set October 1 under which the MRA lawyer is expected to come back and brief the court on progress MRA would make in resolving the matter.