State run Agriculture Research and Extensions Trust (Aret) board has suspended its chief executive officer and two other senior officials on allegations of K180 million abuse of money.
Sources at Aret say the chief executive officer Andy Khumbanyiwa, Finance and Administration manager Jonathana Mwakiyela and Investments and Business Development officer Wesley Mwamadi have been sent on suspension pending investigations.
According to the allegations, Khumbanyiwa and the two others conspired to defraud Aret of K180 million in dubious payments.
It is alleged that Khumbanyiwa instructed the internal procurement committee at Aret to stop Limbe Leaf from supplying firewood at Aret Mwimba farm in Kasungu, saying instead he asked a company known to him to supply the firewood which he paid K24 million.
“This raised the eye brows to the internal procurement committee who found that this company never supplied the firewood to Mwimba as well as what type of firewood can cost that much,” said our source.
Our source says this forced the board to look into other previous payments made under the instructions of Khumbanyiwa and discovered nine payment vouchers amounting to K156 million showing dubious and fraudulent payments.
In the payments, it shows Khumbanyiwa, Mwakiyelo and Mwamadi paid each other US$5000 each for foreign trips which they never undertook.
A letter of suspension tells Khumbanyiwa to stop going to the office, surrender his laptop and never leave Lilongwe with his official vehicle without permission from the board, among other suspension conditions.
Aret is financially struggling.