Malawi Reserve Bank governor designate has a penchant for female employees

joseph_mwanamvekhaThe architect of Mulhakho wa Alomwe Joseph Mwanamvekha, (pictured) who is expected to take over the mantle of Malawi Reserve Bank governor from the deposed Victor Mbewe, has a life bloated with scandals involving subordinate female employees, Nyasa Times has in its possession information including a court dossier.

Mwanavekha, who is also Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the state owned Malawi Savings Bank (MSB), was accused of unlawful dismissal of an employee Tinyade Ntaba [applicant] at Continental Discount House (CDH) after his sexual advances were turned down.

The matter came before the Industrial Relations Court as matter number 73 of 2000 where Justice Mackson Mkandawire ruled in favour of the fired employee.

Ntaba was employed by CDH as secretary in September 1998 and barely two weeks in her employment Mwanavekha then Head of Operations called her into his office to explain office procedures and is said to have mad a pass on her.

After the brief, Mr Mwanamveka asked her what she was doing during weekends. He further requested her if during one of those weekends she could accompany him to the Lake. The applicant said that she completely declined his offer, read the court papers in part.

She further disclosed in cross-examination that in February 2000 after they received bonuses, the Chief Executive Officer Mr Mwanamvekha wanted to have one with her (presumably sexual intercourse) which she declined.

Ntaba is said to have told the court that Mwanamvekhas ascension to the position of Chief Executive Officer did not help matters at all as he behaved as if she did not exist in the establishment.

She was discriminated against in the award of bonuses where she received the lowest compared to colleagues of the same grade and was denied full loan entitlements whilst her colleagues received beyond their entitlements; and eventually she was fired.

The Court also noted that CDH did not afford Ntaba an opportunity to be heard as testified by the management committee members; Mrs Mtonda and Mr Sakala who said that the Mwanamvekha only brought the issue as Any Other Business during a meeting before being fired.

There were two witnesses from the respondents office Mrs Catherine Ntonda and James Sakala who sounded very ignorant as to what was happening between the applicant and her boss Mr Mwanamvekha.

Both witnesses said that being members of the Management Committee in the company, all they observed was that during one of the meetings the issue of the applicant was raised as Any Other Business; where her suspension was discussed, read the court papers

In court Mwanamvekha said, he did not approve the loan application for Ntaba had just received a bonus of K137, 000 and that he had approved a loan of K1, 007,000 for one of her fellow employees because the officer in issue had just finished his probation period and wanted to settle down in his new house since he was staying with his parents.

The Industrial Court condemned CDH for failure to observe the rights of the employee as enshrined in the Constitution and the terms of employment as elaborately contained in the Employment Act and Labour Relations Act.

The respondents having violated the rights of the applicant in not giving her a chance to be heard, we condemn them to pay a compensation

Constitutional provisions should not only be there as paper decorations but they should actually b respected and once they are violated, the Courts should really be seen to enforce them, said Judge Mkandawire in his condemnation on 6th November 2000 at Limbe.

Nyasa Times investigations among female employees in MSB reveal a lot of fear about the boss whom they said does not take no kindly when he asks for favours of any kind.

All female employees here at MSB know that our boss (Mwanamvekha) has a great liking for women and we have to hide at times when he is passing the corridors to avoid him otherwise the next day you end in his office, said a secretary who did not want to be named for fear of her job.

Employees have also complained that it is now becoming very difficult to work in the bank because the environment is too political because you must either be DPP or Mulhakho to survive.

Another victim of Mwanamvekas sexism is Ms Clara Chimbayo, a northerner from Mzimba, who joined Malawi Savings Bank as Head of Internal Audit on 1st November, 1998 before being reassigned to the position of Head of Finance and Company Secretary in November, 2001.

In November, 2005 she was appointed the Deputy Chief Executive Officer for the Bank but has been victimised for her resistance to Mwanamvekas sexual appeals and dislike for people outside the Lomwe/Manganja tribes.

Mwanavekhas reputation at the RBM is also in tatters as he left a history embroidered with sex scandals dating and hurting different women from different departments within the institution.

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