Finance, Economic Planning and Development minister Goodall Gondwe has cleared his name in the corruption scandal which threatens to end the political career of Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda.
Chaponda on Monday used a radio interview to question why the Finance Minister is not being quizzed in the Maizegate linking the maize purchase to his name as a stakeholder in alleged underhand dealings.
But Gondwe said in an interview his role was minimal in the whole procurement of maize.
“Our role as ministry of Finance was to issue the LC (Letters of Credit). Even this was not done by us, it was done by the Reserve Bank of Malawi. So the Reserve Bank of Malawi was dealing directly with Admarc (the Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporatio),” he said.
Gondwe said after all he or officials from the ministry of Finance never went to Zambia in the procurement of maize trips.
“We were just interested in the quantity and quality of the maize, that is all,” he said.
His comments come barely days after the presidential commission of inquiry said in its report that it found the conduct of Chaponda, in his dealings with Transglobe, most inappropriate, suspicious and raising of corrupt practices.
Chaponda told the parliamentary inquiry on maize gate that at times he battled with Gondwe over the procurement processes as the Finance minister felt the Agriculture minister was overstepping his feet.
The Minister of Agriculture also faces an investigation by the graft busting body, the Anti Corruption Bureau.
Chaponda has reiterated that he was not directly involved in the purchase of maize from Zambia.
The presidential commission of inquiry in its report also recommended:
- That the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development should improve on the way it conducts crop estimates, so that the findings of these surveys should not be misleading but facilitate government’s correct and effective response.
- That government must ensure that the strategic grain reserves under the custody of the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) should always be stocked with a minimum of 75 000 metric tonnes.
- That government should put in place mechanisms to prevent maize price fixing by a private traders’ cartel.
- That to the extent that procurement procedures were not followed and contracts were fraudulently entered into by Admarc management, the commission recommends that disciplinary proceedings should be instituted against senior management of Admarc.
- That Admarc must at all times ensure that corporate governance structures should be adhered to.