The Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) board has placed chief executive officer Foster Mulumbe on suspension following recommendations to the board made by the two commissions—one instituted by President Peter Mutharika and the other by Parliament—to begin disciplinary proceedings against Admarc’s senior management over the Zambia maize deal – the ‘maizegate’.
Mulumbe was implicated in the maizegate scandal that he may have indulged in corruption together with fired Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Minister George Chaponda.
Admarc board chairperson James Masumbu confirmed on Monday the board resolved Mulumbe should be “suspended” pending an internal disciplinary hearing instituted by board directors after an extraordinary meeting which took place on Sunday in Blantyre.
Deputy Chief Executive of Admarc, Mrs Magret Mauwa has been appointed by the board to be the acting CEO for the State-trader, according to Masumbu.
The Admarc board has also suspended Director of Operations (DO) Feckson Kantonga.
The report, issued by the commission of inquiry set up by Mutharika and headed by retired Chief Justice Anastasia Msosa, faulted Admarc management for not following government procurement procedures and fraudulently entering into contracts.
Admarc reportedly bought maize at K26 billion from the Zambian company and it is believed that Malawi could have saved about K9.5 billion if it had bought the grain directly from the Zambian government.
On the other hand, the joint parliamentary committee discovered that Admarc’s contract with Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF) was fraudulent as it was backdated to June 17 2016 when it was signed after a month just to get approvals from Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP).
Further, the committee found that Admarc’s alleged fraudulent activities extended to the internal procurement committee which recorded that the chairperson was present when in fact he was in Zambia at the time.
Mulumbe was named as the key person in the flouting of the procurement procedures.
He denies any wrong doing in the maizegate.
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