Three senior officials of State produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) have pocketed K53 million in allowances and accommodation just to cancel maize procurement deals.
Admarc chief executive officer Foster Mulumbe on Friday told a parliamentary inquiry that the three; Admarc chairman James Masumbu, Admarc deputy CEO Margaret Mauwa and Admarc director of Finance Henry Kanjewe, are in the US to cancel the already clinched maize deal.
“They will meet the maize dealers from the Americas who have travelled to the US. They want to tell them Malawi will not buy the maize because the harvest time is just around the corner,” said Mulumbe.
Admarc, has recently been under the spotlight for the alleged maize procurement scandal.
Mulumbe told the inquiry that the government has suspended the procurement of maize because there is enough grain to take the country through the lean period.
The parliamentary inquiry was set up to probe how Mulumbe and Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda procured maize from. Zambia after reports of suspicious dealings with middleman Kaloswe.
Mulumbe appeared before the inquiry, the second time but Chaponda was no show on Friday.
Members of the civil society organisations have reacted angrily to the decision by government to send an Admarc delegation to the US, saying they could have waited for the outcome of the commission of inquiry on maizegate to conclude its investigations in the procurement of the Zambia maize.
Civil Society on Agriculture Network (Cisanet) executive director Tamani Nkhono Mvula said the trip was questionable.
“Why are they going to US when the inquiries are going on?” said Mvula.
He said government should have used Malawi mission in the US.
“I don’t see any reason why the government should spend money on allowances and travel for the three when our embassy can do the job,” he said, adding, “this is a waste of money.”
Mulumbe, who is on forced leave, told a parliamentary inquiry on the procurement of the Zambia maize that the state grain trader has 106 million metric tonnes of maize bought locally last year and can take the nation up to the next harvest season in March.
National Food Reserve Agency CEO Nasimuko Saukira also said the grain reserves have 100 million metric tonnes which he said can take the nation up to March and beyond.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :