Two officials from Agricultural development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) have disclosed in court that Transglobe Export Produce Limited had no contract with the grain marketer to supply maize from Zambia even though it delivered the maize after former Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda influenced the deal.
The case involves Chaponda and Transglobe operations director, Rashid Tayub in which, among other charges, the former minister is being accused of attempting to obtain an advantage while Tayub is answering a charge of influencing a public officer to act corruptly.
Admarc regional manager for central, Joe Kenneth Masamba, and Chikondi Jere, a depot manager at Admarc in Lilongwe were testifying as State witnesses in the ongoing Zambia maize deal.
They told a magistrate’s court sitting in Lilongwe that it was surprising to see the company delivering maize at its depot in Lilongwe along Chilambula Road without signing a contract.
According to them, Admarc was only aware of a contract with Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF) to supply 100 000 metric tonnes of the grain.
Jere told the court that trucks carrying the maize belonging to Transglobe started arriving to offload the grain in December 2016 and she had to seek clearance from her seniors and after three days Masamba, who, after consulting former operations director Feckson Kantonga, approved that the maize had to be offloaded.
Transglobe officials demanded that she sign goods delivery documents for the company, but upon consultations with her bosses, this was rejected and Admarc was only allowed to sign documents of ZCF which was known to have a contract with the State grain marketer according to Jere.
Some of the maize that was brought by Transglobe was also packed in ZCF bags and ordinary sacks and Admarc instructed that they be repackaged into ZCF branded sacks.
The maize was also not packaged in standard 50 kilogramme (kg) bags, but ranged from 40kg to 70 kg and Admarc ordered that all bags be standardised to 50 kg bags.
“It was in the middle of this exercise that the media first reported about the maize deal and everything was stopped. By then, Transglobe had delivered 1 805 metric tonnes [MT] of the grain and all the maize is still in our warehouses.”
However, defence lawyers Jai Banda and Lusungu Gondwe who are representing Transglobe operations director Rashid Tayub produced documents showing that the company had a contract with ZCF to deliver the maize.
Banda quizzed Jere if there was any problem with anyone asking Admarc if they could sell their farm produce there, to which the witness said there was no problem.
Both Tayub and Chaponda were present in court.
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