Chaponda comes out unscathed in ‘burning house’ as Malawi MPs pin down minister on Maizegate

Embatted  Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda was on Wednesday pinned down by the joint inquiry of the committees of agriculture and public accounts of parliamentary inquiry on Maizegate, equating his role in the maize saga to a burning house which had to be broken into to save lives.

Chaponda taking an oath before the House inquiry

Chaponda is alleged to have played a role in the maize deal that has gone sour between Admarc and two Zambian companies —Kaloswe Commuters and Courier Limited and Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF).

The parliamentary joint committee members discovered that Chaponda met some maize suppliers, including Transglobe officials, taking himself the role of procurement officers for Admarc.

The Agriculture committee and Public Accounts Committee members put to Chaponda contradicting statements from Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF) and the minister.

ZCF told the inquiry that they had enough maize, over 100 million metric tonnes to supply to Malawi whilst Chaponda said ZCF had little maize.

He said as far as he was concerned, ZCF did not have adequate maize supply because South Africa and Zimbabwe were also in the country looking for the same maize.

Chaponda therefore said as minister, he had to do all he could to find maize so that no one died of hunger, arguing if anyone died of hunger, he could be held responsible.

“What I was doing was to save lives, I was ready to die as long as people were saved,” he said.

He said some of his actions was because the government was under pressure to get maize.

“The pressure here was to have food for 6,5 million people…You break a house which is burning to get out a child,” he said.

Chaponda, who looked composed and at times laughed off, said he was involved in the maize procurement saga at policy level, saying it was Admarc CEO and his management team and the Admarc board which was directly involvement.

The members also pinned down Chaponda on the cost of the maize, they told him that the maize which Malawi was buying at US$345 per tonne, US$180 per tonne higher on the normal market.

Chaponda then amplified his voice, saying they were told the maize was on the outskirts of Lusaka at Chipata and Katete and in addition, Zimbabwe and South Africa vendors were all over, pushing the cost of the grain higher.

Talking on the higher prices of maize in Admarc depots, at K12500 per 50kg bag, Chaponda said it was the ministry of Finance which set the prices.

He said the minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe said if the price was lower, the IMF would have expressed reservations.

So far, the inquiry has managed to expose anomalies in the way the government wanted to procure the 100 metric tonnes of the maize but it is yet to be proved how Chaponda and Admarc CEO were engaged in suspicious dealings in the procurement of the Zambia maize.

The purchase of the maize by the Malawi government was meant to salvage a hunger situation that threatened 6.5 million people at its peak late last year.

Questions have been raised as to why Admarc bought maize at a higher price across the border when it could have sourced affordably locally.

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goma nyundo sangulukani
Guest
goma nyundo sangulukani

Mulungu akuona kuba kwa a malawi..

Pakati
Guest

I thought Kalua would use his intimidatory stance to shake up Chaponda,but lo! he looked more of a cartoon than a wise one

Mweene
Guest
Ndale izi (politics!). Novice oChakwera and the perpetually-in-opposition Party, MCP, agwa nazo (bit the line, hook and all). One take: Brilliant move Bwana Chaponda, the master politician; he laid a trap for the Opposition (including PP). And he fed oxygen to the fire, so to speak, once the Opposition thought they latched on to something, knowing perfectly well that he would come out smelling like roses. While they would end up smelling like ziphwisi (rotten eggs). On cue: even his going to Germany after the Northern Court ruling was not “unplanned”. Master stroke Bwana, and the Big Bwana APM. And… Read more »
koma abale inu eeh
Guest
We told you from the get go that this Committee is a waste of time. As far as Bwana Chaponda’s involvement is concerned, anyway. Malawians do care about fairness, even if they they think the person being persecuted is an arrogant politician to the core. And sympathy galore for Bwana Chaponda, not only in the South but even in the Center, and even the North would you believe? He will come back even stronger, as a person and politician: Malawi’s come back kid. Kikikikiki Some of the Committee members, MCP and their leader oChakwera, and even their surrogates like Times’… Read more »
CHIMVQ
Guest

VERY SAD
CHAPONDA MWAMUPATSA
MATAMA KWABASI !!

mafumuadyera
Guest

Why persecute chaponda and mulumbe when the whole country was scared of hunger and we urged them to speed the purchase of maize.did you give them the price at which to buy the maize. Be realistic wavuta ndi umunthu.

namasina
Guest

Came out unscathed? Another washout case involving corrupt politicians! Malawians, you are good at making noises but totally incapable of taking actions.The man is a thief!!

Mika Kumbire
Guest
My friend this just a ploy to make allowances. In Malawi people are interested in the processes i.e. sourcing maize or setting commission of inquiries so that they can make money through the processes. No one is interested in the END or FINAL RESULT. After so many months people will come out of the processes with fat stomachs while the poor person remains poor. Where are our priorities a Malawi. And now, it seems the inquiries will go on and on until the allowances funding is finished. Anthu amachita kunenerera kuti nkhani zimenezi tidyerapo! Forget about them inquiring anything. They… Read more »
Yahya Jammeh
Guest

How can Chaponda say that if the price of maize was lower IMF would have reservations as if the money that the government used to buy maize was a donation from them? After the money was not from IMF but PTA Bank and to make matters worse the whites have a deliberate policy of subsidizing food for their people. So, why can’t our government do the same knowing very well that it will be the same Malawians paying back the loan? This is utter nonsense, not an excuse worth its salt.I will rule Gambia for a billion years.

Namaliya N. G.
Guest

Is it true that WFP bought maize locally at the same time at USD420 per metric ton? Is it possible for Hon. Members of the inquiry to call WFP to the enquiry? May be then the puzxle coud be sorted.

wpDiscuz

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