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

  1. goma nyundo sangulukani says:

    Mulungu akuona kuba kwa a malawi..

  2. Pakati says:

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

  3. Mweene says:

    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 the DPP strategists.

    Meanwhile, he was pumping up detractors, including certain MPs and CSOs, but leaving the door only ajar for those sophisticated enough to see, and pry it open; and a sneak peek.
    Only then would people discover the lack of evidence against the Bwana. But then what do you expect from those trained in non-analytical fields, like Religion; and the so-called investigative journalists, and tunnel visioned editors at Times, like Kasakula?
    Sometimes, I forget this is Malawi, where, especially in media and politics, being unsophisticated, and mediocrity are rewarded “heavy” or handsomely. ASA!

  4. koma abale inu eeh says:

    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’ Kasakula and co. are getting bruised; maybe even blistering. Maybe they even have deep cuts, which will take a while to heal.

  5. CHIMVQ says:

    VERY SAD
    CHAPONDA MWAMUPATSA
    MATAMA KWABASI !!

  6. mafumuadyera says:

    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.

  7. namasina says:

    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!!

  8. Mika Kumbire says:

    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 are actually eating and enjoying plus travel to Zambia to meet Chishimba who does not have any facts too.

  9. Yahya Jammeh says:

    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.

  10. Namaliya N. G. says:

    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.

  11. Phsyuta says:

    KKKKKKKKKK !!!!! A Chidandi, ndi PHd yanuyo yothenela ng’ombeyo. Mdala wakumatsulanitu uyo !!! Bwelerani ku Bunda mudzikachita design makondomu ang’ombe.

  12. pleasant says:

    Who cares,all politicians all the same.

  13. Wind says:

    Here is the update of the boxing of twelve rounds between Chaponda and Chidanti. The poins are as follows: Chaponda 9 pts and Chidanti 8 pts. Chaponda is now leading on points.

  14. Mphwache says:

    Kodi mwawafunsa chimanga cha ku Brazil, Ukraine and Hungary? Who went there to strike deals?
    Nanga mwawafunsa za Contempt of Court?

  15. Malawi is spending a lot more than the maize gate scandal. What surprises me most is a number of inquiries set to probe the same issue. Are the people responsible for all these inquiries doing it for free or are getting the tax payers money. If such is the case, Malawians will look idiots to spend more on the inquiries than the what has coasted us on the scandal. Whilst i recommend that the probe to find out the truth is fine, i want to know why we Malawians are segregative in our efforts to find out the truth. The question which gives me no answers is that: Why didn’t we do the same with the Plane gate? Why didn’t we do the same with the maize that we were told was rotten in our Silos and many more. Can foreigners take us serious as we are indeed fighting corruption when we are just doing it to our enemies?

    1. Khima says:

      Pepa mmbale wanga dziko la Malawi kuti ulitsatile upita ndi Bp plus ma Ulcers…zoti alipo anapita ku sukulu mdziko lino ndimakaika….

      1. Maizegate says:

        Sam Mpasu was convicted for shortcutting procurement procedures. His argument that he had to get the education materials in time for the next term no matter how was not listened by the courts,
        Here this guy is admitting that he flouted the procurement procedures because the house was ‘burning’. Can’t people see similarities with the Mpasu case? After all, there is no convincing evidence that this was an emergency situation. 95% of Zambia maize has not been delivered and Malawi hasn’t starved when new harvest is only next month.

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