CAMA says Chaponda implicated in Malawi maize purchase, demands explanation: Kapito tenders ‘objective evidence’

Embattlked Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda interfered with procurement of maize currently Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) is selling at K12, 500 per 50 kilogram bag in its depots across the country despite his insistence of not being involved, Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) investigation has revealed.

Kapito: Chaponda lied that his ministry and him as a minister did not interfere or got involved in any procurement arrangements of maize in the country
Chaponda: CAMA accuses him of abuse of office

CAMA carried out its investigation study in relation to the purchases of maize both local and international by Admarc following reports of corruption element by those that were involved in the purchase of the maize.

And through its final findings presented to the public on Tuesday, CAMA faulted Chaponda of lying to the nation of his minimal involvement in maize purchase as a minister, revealing that he abused his powers and interfered with maize procurement process at Admarc.

The consumer body has, however, defended Chaponda in the procurement of the controversial 100,000 metric tons maize from Zambia, which according to the study, only less than 5,000 metric tons was delivered in Malawi and that no payment has been made yet.

Speaking to journalists on Tuesday in Blantyre, CAMA Executive Director, John Kapito demanded explanation from Chaponda on his involvement in the procurement of maize locally by Admarc.

“Admarc and Ministry of Agriculture continue to provide the public misleading and contradicting information as regards to the procurement of the Zambian maize. There is a need to investigate why the Minister George Chaponda and the Chairperson of Admarc Board informed the nation that they were not involved in the local and international procurement processes of maize,” demanded Kapito.

Local Maize Purchase

The investigation study revealed that Chaponda lied to the nation that his ministry and him as a minister did not interfere or got involved in any procurement arrangements of maize in the country and yet the ministry was able to obtain a letter of no-objection from the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) when it is not a procuring entity of maize for Admarc.

The investigation further revealed that ministry of agriculture, with Chaponda’s blessings, tried to influence Admarc to purchase maize from local suppliers at exorbitant prices without consideration of its impact on the consumers’ affordability to buy such maize.

According to documents which Nyasa Times has sourced, Chaponda and a team in his ministry obtained no-objection from ODPP and compiled a list of local maize suppliers whose quoted prices were exorbitantly high as compared to the current Admarc’s market selling price per kilogram.

It has been revealed that On October 22nd, 2016 the ministry of agriculture through Bright Kumwembe wrote Admarc to adopt the no-objection letter which actually was meant for Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR).

The letter had a long list of Malawian traders who had not gone through Admarc’s procurement process, and had different quantities and prices of maize that were generally above the K250 cap per kilogram authorized by Treasury.

Despite Chaponda’s influence on Admarc to adopt the list of the suppliers and the no-objection letter, the grain marketer rejected to be smeared in the mud of potential fraud and corruption.

And on October 28th, 2016 now suspended Admarc Chief Executive Officer, Foster Mulumbe wrote the ministry refusing to adopt the imposed letter of no-objection arguing it would be irregular to adopt such letter meant for SGR.

“It will, therefore, be irregular for Admarc to award contracts instead of the ministry. It will also be irregular for Admarc to turn maize meant for SGR into commercial. The entire procurement process was handled outside Admarc Internal Procurement Committee and therefore it would be difficult for Admarc to award contracts without going through the due procurement process,” wrote Mulumbe.

Chaponda, meanwhile suspended as minister of agriculture by the High Court in Mzuzu, has been claiming his involvement was minimal as the main buyer of the maize was Admarc and not his ministry.

Kapito added: “It is common knowledge that most of the maize that is selling on the market is very same maize that was imported by various traders from Zambia and sold to Admarc with the influence of the Ministry of Agriculture.”

International Maize Purchase

According to CAMA’s investigation study, two Zambian suppliers namely Kaloswe Commuter and Courier Limited and Zambia Cooperative Federation Limited (ZCF) failed to supply Malawi with maize as stipulated in their contracts. ZCF only managed to supply less than 5,000 metric tons.

CAMA noted that Kaloswe Commuter and Courier Limited contract with Admarc was terminated and that there was no activity from both sides.

“Our investigation study revealed that no funds have been remitted so far to any of the two suppliers and that the ZCF request for payment has not been effected.  It has been observed that both ZCF and Kaloswe contracts need to be terminated as they both failed to meet the requirements of their contractual obligations.”

Meanwhile, the consumer body has recommended that the credit line agreement between Malawi and PTA Bank which provided funds for procurement of maize should be terminated and the loan should be cancelled, and that such funds should not be diverted to any other activity without approval of Parliament.

Payment mist

The investigation study and letters which Nyasa Times has sourced from Reserve Bank, ZCF and Admarc, confirm that no money out of the US$34.5 million which the grain marketer was expected to pay for 100,000 metric ton of maize ZCF was expected to supply to Malawi has not been paid.

According to contractual agreement between Admarc and ZCF, payment was to be made for tranches of 10,000 metric tons upon presentation of Loading Order, Commercial Invoice and Goods Received Note. However ZCF has only managed to supply 1,530.508 metric ton of maize below the requirement.

The company is currently seeking payment of the supplied maize amounting to US$528,025.26 which the Reserve Bank of Malawi has refused to authorize considering that the supplied maize did not meet the required amount to trigger payment as stipulated in the contract.

Kaloswe role

Based on the investigation study and contract agreement between Admarc and Kaloswe Commuter and Courier Limited, the company was not engaged as a middleman to supply maize to Malawi; it was, infact, quoted as one of Zambian maize traders who expressed interest to supply maize to Admarc.

However, their contract was terminated on October 11th, 2016 after Admarc noted that had entered into a contract with a potential conman. Admarc terminated the contract on grounds that the company failed to commence deliveries of the maize within 14 days as stipulated under clauses 5 (a) and 15 (a) of their contract, it failed to deliver the maize within the agreed 120 days or any mutually agreed and extended period as stipulated under clause 5 (c) of the contract.

Admarc accused Kaloswe of concealing material information about its source of maize who happened to be ZCF which Admarc had also signed a contract with, that it did not have maize at the time of concluding the contract and that it failed to open a Letter of Credit (LC) since it did not have an Export Licence despite claims that it was the only one allowed to export maize from Zambia.

The documents in our possession indicate that Admarc between May and June, 2016 quoted and entered into contract agreement with several maize suppliers from Zambia including Kaloswe Commuter and Courier Ltd and Zambia Corporative Federation (ZCF) who agreed to respectively supply 100,000 metric tons of white maize for commercial purposes at a cost of US$345 per metric ton.

Meanwhile, both commission of inquiry set by President Peter Mutharika and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) have started investigating the saga amid confirmed reports that Admarc’s Chief Executive Officer, Foster Mulumbe has been sent on forced leave until the matter is concluded.

Mulumbe and other government officials including Minister George Chaponda are accused of pocketing about K9 billion out of the deal.

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7 years ago

Dear fellow Malawians don’t West time by sending comments, the best way is to stand up and act. Express our feelings in public will sort out this problems. If we don’t this will not stop those peopl know each other, that’s why they are changing the parties as many as they can. Its yuo and me suffering they don’t care that’s their lives. Ndiye tikango tambalala tiwona zokhoma dziko lanji longo khalira mavuto chaka ndi chaka, tisanamizanepo apa kuti tili ndi democracy, akati democracy ndi chonchi tsono ilipati. Watch out malawi stop accusing the past, the problem is with us… Read more »

7 years ago
Reply to  khalid

iweyo wapangilanji comment? mmmmmm

7 years ago

To begin with the Malawian president is too old to lead malawins hence his deposition in an evil forest for him to die there. He is not a leader but a thief. Let us stand up against this government and its leadership to step down within 7 days. Enough is enough, Malawi is for all of us and not just few god diggers. Mutharika must fall.

Cuban General
Cuban General
7 years ago
Reply to  Akubwanje

Amwene Akubwanje; Mutharika must fall is not a solution because you will be jumping from a flying pan into the flame. Initially in Malawi you had Kamuzu who was a dictator and a lot of people were imprisoned and others lost lives – and here in Zambia we had Kaunda who was also a dictator with a lot of his opponents getting locked never to come back. Later on you had Bakili who was a thief and was later charged with corruption by Bingu – and here in Zambia we had Fredrick Chiluba who was also corrupt and charged by… Read more »

7 years ago

Am not Prophet Bushiri’s follower so his fan but, am convinced Malawi needs a quick help. Coz Peter Muthalika’s cabinet is a sinking boat. In this kind of situation we are facing in Malawi Mr President u now go to Germany & bought top of the range Mercedes benz. U people don’t feel or think for Malawi. Where is electricity? What is happening with Water Board? DPP has failed period

7 years ago

Am not Prophet Bushiri’s follower so his fan but, am convinced Malawi needs a quick help. Coz Peter Muthalika’s cabinet is a sinking boat. In this kind of situation we are facing in Malawi Mr President u now go to Germany & bought top of the range Mercedes benz. U people feel or think for Malawi. Where is electricity? What is happening with Water Board? DPP has failed period

7 years ago

Izi ndinkhope zoti zingamve chisoni ndi anthu akumudzi akufa ndi njala! Kaya kapena!

Lover of life
7 years ago

“Nanga akubawaaaa, awachita chaniiiii? tingoti pheeee, tioneee!

7 years ago

In 1994 we voted the MCP out of power, in came the thieving generation of politicians. UDF, DPP, PP, DPP. WE ARE TIRED OF YOU. A MALAWI SIOPUSA MUTIMVA KUWAWA

7 years ago

If yona was not swallowed by a fish how was he found on the other side of the sea?
stealling in malawi is like a new church with everything where sinful run to hide their sins .
Atrue leader does not shield anybody.
The bottom line is that let us make malawi corrupt free nation

7 years ago

The only fool in this sagar is the president. Kumuopa chaponda.

7 years ago

So who is fooling who here,
Should we say its a negative reporting as some people are saying? Should we say that its jealous plus poverty ? Should I say its a tribal war ?

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