Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) employees have threatened to go on strike from Monday, December 2 2019 due to what one member of the workers described as “fragrant abuse of office and mismanagement of resources” by some senior managers, including the acting chief executive officer, Margaret Mauwa.
The staff are calling for an immediate removal of Mauwa, Director of Finance Harold Mwala and Company Secretary James Kaphale from their positions.
Mauwa has been acting CEO since January 2019 when former CEO Foster Mulumbe was fired in the light of the Maizegate scandal. Kaphale’s contract expired a few months ago but continues to occupy the position.
The workers’ union member, whose identity has been shielded for fear of reprisals, confided in Nyasa Times that it is the general consensus most employees at the organization that the acting CEO has failed to run the organization and that if she is left to stay at the position a little longer, Admarc will most certainly be rundown, adding that the strike is long overdue as it is their only way to avert a monumental crisis happening to the organization.
“Since she became CEO of Admarc, the organization has practically been on an autopilot and in a free fall mode. Initially, we had thought she would understand the organizational culture and gradually steer it to safety and to make it commercially viable, but what we have been experienced is chaos and deterioration of performance, underlined by the lack of financial discipline,” he said.
He added that the acting CEO recruited her own people and formed an ‘inner circle’, which she uses outside the management structure to abuse funds and have her way with the organization against principles of corporate governance.
“For example, the recent internal audit report has revealed astronomical and unauthorized expenditures towards the purchase of farm produce at astronomical prices,” said the source, adding that this happened because the acting CEO, in connivance with some senior managers, has systematically abrogated and overlooked due financial procedures governing the organization.
The internal audit report, which Nyasa Times has seen, alleges unauthorized and extra draw-downs on loans that internal audit deemed to have been suspicious and reported to the organization’s board.
The report said Admarc signed a loan facility of MK5,000,000,000.00 with Alliance Capital on 16th April in 2016, and out of this the organization got MK4,713,000,000.00, which the organization used to procure farm produce.
“However, as reported before, there were further draw downs amounting to MK2, 600, 000,000.00 appearing on the Admarc loan schedule that the internal audit deemed suspicious and reported to the Board,” reads the report in part, adding that Admarc books are out of sync by MK2,656,385, 447.00 based on this Alliance Capital account alone.
The report observes that there are other anomalies surrounding the operation of this loan account, one of which is that the total amount drawn in favour of one supplier of maize, Admike Imports & Exports, was MK2, 500, 000,000.00 and yet this supplier only supplied 2,600,440kgs of maize at MK250.00 per kilogram worth MK652, 300,000.00.
To date, the deficit has not been accounted for, and there is no documentation in the finance department at Admarc supporting payments to Admike Imports & Exports. It is not clear who owns Admike Imports and Exports.
Reads the report: “Total loan drawn down in favour of Admike as per Alliance Capital loan statement is MK 2,500, 000,000.00. This amount was paid direct from the loan account to Admike completely by-passing clearly laid down procedures as per loan agreement. To date Admarchas incurred MK156, 385,447.00 interests arising from unauthorized loan draw downs.”
The workers union member said it is for reasons of such abuse that employees cannot just sit on their laurels and watch things deteriorate further to the point where there will be no Admarc.
She said Mauwa treats Admarc as her personal estate, or a vehicle to be used for personal aggrandizement.
He gave an example of a management retreat that the organization made to Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi from November 17 to 24, 2019 allegedly to develop a business model for the organization in its bid to go commercial.
“However, the retreat turned out to be a huge birthday party because the CEO’s birthday falls on 18th November and she took advantage of the meeting to feast and make merry, including purchasing a birthday cake worth MK130, 000 using Admarc resources.
“It was also not financially prudent for an organization which is struggling financially like Admarc to spend seven days at Sunbird Nkopola Lodge accumulating huge bills in millions of Kwacha and yet there are cheaper places in Mangochi,” he said.
Another employee corroborated the member’s claims, saying Mauwa uses Kaphale and Mwala as her errand boys, sending them around the world to search for farm produce markets, an area they were not responsible for.
The employee said they have tried on a number of occasions to engage management on this but said Mauwa has been un-engaging and aloof almost all the times like she works somewhere else not Admarc, adding that this is the reason why the employees feel “enough is enough”.
Mauwa could not immediately comment.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :