Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) Chief Executive Officer Henry Kachaje got the wrath of the Parliamentary Committee of Natural resources and climate change when he finally appeared before it after previous no-shows.
The first time he was called to appear before it, he gave an excuse and told the Committee to consider rescheduling it as he was tied up hence could not make it to Parliament.
The second time another invite was extended to him he did not show up again and this did not go well with the people’s representatives who then asked for the Speaker’s intervention and sent summons subpoenaing him.
On Thursday when he faced the Committee, they demanded to know reasons for his disregard of the Committee and why he does not respect invitations from Parliament.
Committee Chairperson Werani Chilenga lectured him these meetings are budgeted by the Secretariat on a quarterly basis and rescheduling is quite challenging for them also taking into account the other stakeholders who were also invited alongside him.
He was told that since it had to take subpoenas for him to show up, he had to take an oath as it was his first time to appear before the Committee possibly under duress stressing that what he did was very unfortunate.
Machinga East parliamentarian Esther Jolobala queried him what's more important between a board meeting by a board constituted by Parliament and why Mera was finding problems to appear before a Parliamentary meeting whose mandate is derived by the Constitution.
In response, Kachaje apologised stating that he asked for rescheduling due to a board meeting whose agenda was fuel importation and meeting new suppliers which was very critical and this was not out of malice since he was dealing with a crucial issue to assure Malawians of fuel availability in the country.
He further explained that Mera has never refused any invitation for the Committee without justifiable reasons and told the meeting that the second non- appearance was because it coincided with an invite from State House.
The Mera boss stressed that he understands the importance of Parliament and has never refused to appear before any Parliamentary Committee and appealed for their understanding that the country is going through a very difficult time in terms of fuel importation.
He assured members that he fully respects Parliament and extended his apologies to the Committee
It had to take another member of the Committee who pleaded with the parliamentarians to accept the apology and move forward for the sake of progress as the meeting also had representatives from other government departments and agencies who had nothing to do with the Kachaje issue.