By Ray Williams
In the wake of a devastating catastrophe, when Malawi faced the aftermath of Cyclones Ana and Gombe wreaking havoc on the Kapichira Hydro Power Station, the nation looked to EGENCO, seeking swift and effective restoration. However, what unfolded was not a story of resilience and triumph but a damning exposé of incompetence and betrayal under the leadership of CEO William Liabunya.
Malawians will recall that the cyclone that destroyed kapichira is Ana. The cyclone brought a flow of approx 3000 m3 per second.
However, the design flow for the dam is 10,000 m3 per second. This means the dam collapsed way below the design flow/load. Why? Because EGENCO management neglected the maintenance of spillway gates. 2 out of 5 were working on the day of the collapse. This is because Liabunya and his mafiosos were in the practice of not budgeting for asset maintenance. They instead concentrated on other procurements.
This led to the government to damand a forensic audit, a crucial step in ensuring transparency and accountability prevails, but the move was met with resistance from Liabunya and his cronies.
Their desperate attempt to obstruct the audit, seeking legal refuge, reveals a deep-seated fear of accountability and a stark unwillingness to face the consequences of their actions.
Despite facing the force of Cyclone Ana, Liabunya’s management failed to safeguard EGENCO’s infrastructure. Shockingly, our sources who have in depth knowledge on the matter say for instance the Kapichira dam’s capacity to withstand the cyclone’s impact was undermined by the negligence of Liabunya led management.
While Cyclone Freddy posed a greater threat, timely warnings were ignored, leading to further damages. This pattern of disregard for expert advice showcased a reckless attitude that jeopardizes not only EGENCO but the entire nation’s energy security.
Even President Lazarus Chakwera’s stern warnings fell on deaf ears as Liabunya’s management missed critical deadlines in the subsequent rehabilitation works. The President’s hope for urgency and action turned into disappointment, highlighting the CEO’s inability to motivate his team or ensure effective decision-making.
This glaring lack of leadership has left EGENCO in a state of disarray, compromising its ability to fulfill its fundamental responsibilities.
To make matters worse, sources have told this publication that CEO Liabunya has also been orchestrating irregularities, nepotism, and unchecked power.
A recent review by the Ministry of Energy shows that there is a web of deceit spun by Liabunya, who, disregarding due process, unilaterally appointed his cronies to key management positions. The source points at his blatant disregard for established protocols led to a government intervention, nullifying these irregular appointments. Despite this, Liabunya persisted, further eroding the organization’s governance structure.
While the government attempted to restore order, Liabunya’s insidious influence persisted. For instance the CEO’s decision to appoint Mr. Delano Ulanje as Director of Finance, without board involvement, highlights a shocking lack of accountability. The sources also reveals that there is an internal report showing how Liabunya’s autocratic decisions have jeopardized the very essence of EGENCO’s mission.
The issue of forced leave wouldn’t have been instructed by the shareholder if Liyabunya had cooperated with the Auditors when they reported for the assignment at EGENCO. The Auditors, Mwenelupembe & Comonay, were refused access for EGENCO offices for four solid days for reasons best known to Liabunya and his clonies.
When Ana and Gombe washed away the dam, EGENCO claimed that for them to repair the dam they needed MAREP money while they had a bank balance of K29 billion and K3 billion payables. When MAREP board rejected the request the World Bank offered to finance it. When it became very clear that the Dec 22, 2022 would be missed, the Ministry forced them to use their money on a different solution Led by the Ministry of Energy other than the World Bank solution. This time EGENCO used their money and the fast track dam was eventually commission in March 2023. Two questions, would they have done the fast track if they were not forced? Isn’t this a show of lack of insightful leadership at the institution??
It is also of note that Liabunya’s nepotistic practices have seeped into EGENCO’s core, poisoning its organizational culture.
The arbitrary appointments and disregard for meritocracy have bred favoritism, sowing discontent among the staff. Morale has plummeted, and a once-harmonious work environment now festers with fear and uncertainty.
With this, EGENCO’s integrity lies shattered, with its stakeholders questioning the organization’s commitment to transparency and ethical governance. Liabunya’s reckless decisions have compromised the company’s standing, casting doubt on its ability to fulfill its mandate effectively. Partners, clients, and the public now view EGENCO through a lens of skepticism, eroding the trust painstakingly built over the years.