Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda said he was ready and willing to appear before the joint Parliamentary inquiry committee on maizegate set for next Wednesday on 8th February 2016.
Chaponda, who was supposed to meet the committee last week, is said to have received the invitation letter late.
” I received the letter late and I was not in Lilongwe at the time. So it was difficult for me to travel to Lilongwe and make it for the interview hence I alerted the Speakers and Clerk of parliament to communicate to the committee for reschedule ” said Chaponda to Nyasa Times.
” I am happy to apppear before the committees,”he added.
The chairperson for the Parliamentary commission of inquiry Joseph Chidanti Malunga has since confirmed rescheduling the meeting with Chaponda to Wednesday 8th February.
The decision to call Chaponda to appear before the inquiry comes at a time some sections of society have expressed misgivings with the way the members of parliament are asking questions and handling those who appear before it.
They accuse Rumphi East MP Kamlepo Kalua of being emotional and intimidating the guests.
The inquiry members are currently in Zambia where in the morning they met the Malawi High Commissioner to Zambia and in the afternoon met officials from Zambia Cooperative Federation, a state agency.
At this meeting, officials from ZCF were adamant that it was Admarc and not ZCF that suggested a price of $345 for the maize. They further indicated that the agent working on behalf of ADMARC used false ZCF documents to clear the maize. Meanwhile, officials at the Malawi Embassy in Zambia disavowed any knowledge of the activities of the ADMARC officials in Zambia, suggesting that ADMARC officials had been working independently
The MPs left on Sunday and are expected back in the country on Sunday.
Chaponda who is also Leader of Government in Parliament maintains that he was not directly involved in the purchase of maize from Zambia.
He said his involvement was minimal as the main buyer of the maize was the Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) and not his ministry.