Leonard Chikadya who is CEO of media conglomerate Times Group has threatened journalists at the institution not to report on a story of contaminated fuel sold by several PUMA stations over the weekend.
This, Chikadya has done to protect his business interests because he owns several Puma stations including one at Wenela and Ntcheu boma.
Insiders at Times Group say when the story was pitched by one senior reporter it was shelved by Managing Editor George Kasakula who then sought way forward from Chikadya.
“Chikadya was furious to learn that such a story idea would find its way on the table. He ordered George (Kasakula) not to carry the story because it was going to damage his business interests,” said the source.
Unfortunately for Chikadya, many motorists had already noticed the contamination and regulator Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) was bombarded with queries.
In no time Puma stations especially in Lilongwe started calling back vehicles that had refilled to replace the fuel at no cost under the supervision of Meria officials.
Chikadya is said to have called Kasakula again and shouted at him for allowing a story idea from an editorial meeting be leaked to social media after it had been shelved.
“I doubt if the journalist who presented the idea was also responsible for its social media leakage. These are days of free information, people were bound to know one way or another,” the source said.
The journalist was summoned to an impromptu inquest hearing where he vehemently denied leaking the information through any social media platform.
Leonard Chikadya has over the years become renowned for his dictatorial tendencies and meddling into the institution’s editorial policy to push personal and political agenda.