Furore sorrounding decision on Chief Justice turns nasty: Muhara’s contract as Chief Secretary leaked into the public domain

By Duncan Mlanjira

The furore sorrounding the decision to force Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda and Justice of Appeal Edward Twea to go on mandatory leave pending retirement, has now turned nasty as the author of the notice, Lloyd Muhara’s personal contract with government has been leaked into the public domain.

His contract as Chief Secretary to the Government, that was signed for on December 10, 2016, expired on December 9, 2019 and renewed in January 2020.

Muhara, a Judge of the High Court of Malawi, was first seconded to the Government on August 8, 2016 for the post of Deputy Chief Secretary before being elevated by President Peter Mutharika to Chief Secretary (Grade A) in the Office of the President and Cabinet.

He had replaced George Mkondiwa, who was sent on diplomatic mission to be Malawi High Commissioner to India.

President Mutharika

The leaked contract, that exposes everything including Muhara’s salary and other benefits, says the term of employment shall be for a period of 36 months renewable subject to satisfactory work performance, based on the relevant performance agreement to be reached between the two sides.

The public is incensed that, on top of his MK20.4 million per annum salary at the entry point in 2016, Muhara was entitled to fuel allowance of 2,500 litres payable in advance on the first day of the month and that he got extra fuel whenever he travelled outside duty station.

Commenting on Facebook, Idriss Ali Nassah was incredulous that Muhara was receiving 2,500 liters of fuel a month, and that was at his entry point in 2016.

It all starts with Chief Justice Nyirenda

“What is amazing is how he has consistently exhausted 2,500 litres each month, without fail,” Nassah said, to which Nyandoro Mthenga replied that “It’s like driving in a VX to Blantyre from Lilongwe and back each day of the month”.

Others opined that it’s almost a quarter tanker for an individual yet these officials do not make any long distances requiring these fuel allocations.

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Dayire wa Dayire said this amount of fuel is like he flies a jet because the allocation is not fit for a saloon or four wheeler and its preposterous that when he is traveling outside duty station he is supplied with further fuel. 

“Surely this is not fair to an average Malawi. This is pure stealing and must be investigated. I understand a minister gets 1,000 litres. Is the Chief Secretary above Ministers?”

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Joshua Chisa Mbele said: “2,500 liters. Where does he go? That’s a staggering K27 million per annum. This is pure insult to struggling Malawians.”

Dannie Grant Phiri said: “The stomachs of the greedy are super efficient” while Robert Bright Salijeni suggested that this must be probed and the law should deal with him accordingly if found guilty of abuse of office.

Security is provided to all top government officials

Other components of remuneration package in Muhara’s contract include provision of 24 hours security at his Lilongwe residence from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security as well as such security as is necessary by the Government and 24 hour rapid response from a reputable security company.

The Government meets all expenses for electricity, water and telephone (mobile and ground); provides roaming facility for mobile telephone, provision of DSTV premium subscription and provision of WIFI Internet and was provided a mobile phone worth K200,000 once every three years.

Replacement of mobile phone every 3 years

He is also being provided with K100,000 hospitality allowance per month as well as a cook, a gardener and landscaping services at his official residence in Lilongwe, which is fully furnished.

The Government provided Muhara a saloon car and a four wheel drive, both of which are maintained by Government.

When travelling on duty within Malawi, Muhara was being paid a subsistence allowance at the prevailing rate of K6,000 per night to cover meals, laundry and other incidental expenses. 

Four wheel car provided

All official telephone charges incurred in a hotel are settled by Government and where accommodation is not provided, he was being paid a subsistence allowance equivalent to that of Cabinet Ministers.

When travelling on duty outside Malawi, he was being paid a daily subsistence allowance of US$300 for all countries in Africa except North Africa – to cover hotel tariffs, hotel taxes and service charges, subsistence bills, airport and transport expenses.

Foreign travel allowances provided

A daily subsistence allowance of US$450 was for all countries in North Africa and all countries outside Africa, also to cover hotel tariffs, hotel taxes and service charges, subsistence bills, airport and transport expenses.

He received a daily telephone allowance of US$70 for telephone charges, laundry charges, fluctuation in exchange rates and bank charges.

The Government also provides Muhara a medical cover on V.I.P. Medical Scheme offered by the Medical Aid Society of Malawi (MASM).