Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda has been exposed in a scam he is involved in together with the Malawi diplomat in Washington DC, Edward Sawelengela on a maize deal in Brazil which $24 million US dollars – a 10 percent of the procurement deal – has been set aside as their loot.
Nyasa Times has material evidence that confirms that this team will get Admarc to approve this deal. Sawerengela is now Ambassador to the USA in Washington DC and was Ambassador to Brazil where he started these negotiations. The money will be wired in ‘cashgate’ like-style so that these individuals only will handle it.
Despite Sawelengela moving to United States, Chaponda, on behalf of the government, is still instructing him to travel to Brazil to handle the maize deal by-passing his successor there, Malawi’s most senior diplomat Brian Bowler.
Nyasa Times contacted Ambassador Bowler who confirmed and was quoted that his mission in Brazil is not handling any maize transactions or deals .
He said: “No maize deal is in my handover notes as I have only been in Brazil for two months”.
Bowler also said he was surprised to read in the newspapers and learn on the radio that Malawi was buying maize in Brazil.
He said “I contacted the Ambassador of Brazil to Malawi and he too was ignorant of any maize procurement.”
Nyasa Times understands that Brazilian Ambassador Gustavo Martins Nogueira contacted Admarc CEO Foster Mulumbe offering to assist Malawi “in anyway possible” and asked him if he knew which companies and traders in Brazil were involved in the maize purchase operation.
But Mulumbe reportedly told Brazilian Ambassador that he did not know any details because Sawerengela and higher authorities were organizing the deal.
This comes at a time that government procured maize for $30million from Llmns international of Mauritus is being dubiously being kept in a warehouse along Kanengo and Mvera road for $6,000 a month.
Brazil, which opened its Embassy in Lilongwe three years ago, is sending a total of 407 metric tons of beans to Malawi as a support to vulnerable Malawians who are experiencing hunger.
According to Nogueira, the Brazilian people are ready to assist Malawians in time of crisis.
“We took heed of President Mutharika’s appeal for assistance. The Government of Malawi can count on Brazil for support in its efforts towards food security and economic development,” said Ambassador Nogueira.
But Chaponda and Sawerengela, despite President Mutharika’s best intentions to have Malawi food secure, are determined to collect their 10% even if it means buying GMO yellow maize. Brazil produces 95% of its production of yellow maize as GMO.
GMO maize can pose long-term impact on the heath of Malawians and farm produce, which has always been organic.
Genetically modified organisms are plants or animals whose genes are artificially altered to enhance yields and resistance to pests and diseases.
Chaponda, however, said Malawi government would mill GMO supplies into flour immediately after they arrive in the country.
Agriculture experts are warning that the GMO grain does not end up as seed, saying growing GMO crops in Malawi, which is essentially an organic agriculture producer, could contaminate local crop varieties through cross-pollination.
They urge that the hungry population should not be used as guinea pigs.
But Civil Society for Agriculture Network (Cisanet) executive director Tamani Nkhono-Mvula however, said this would not be the first time Malawi has imported GMO maize citing the 2000/2001-food crisis when Malawi accepted GMO maize from South America.
“The choice that we have now is to die today of hunger or die tomorrow of whatever GMO maize will bring. What I am trying to say is we should not fear to import maize from Brazil, or anywhere, because it is people’s lives that are at stake here. I think it’s better to eat GMO maize than to eat poisonous root tubers that people sometimes eat during food crises of this nature,” he said.
The experts from the farmers organization’s in the country who asked to not be mentioned, said while GMO maize has no harmful effects on human beings, however warn that the country cannot handle the effects that would come with poor handling of the GMO maize which some people would use as seed.
They fear that the planted maize would introduce weeds and insects in the country and which would become resistant to pesticides and herbicides.
What pundits have mentioned is to why risk the nation and put them on such a dangerous path from a Minister of Agriculture who is supposed to be educated from Yale University and should know better and also questioned how unpatriotic and corrupt this minister is.
Government estimates that it needs to import 1.07 million metric tons (MT) of maize to feed about 8.8 million people facing food shortage due to the El Nino weather episode, which has decimated maize, harvests this year.
In April this year, President Mutharika announced a state of national disaster aimed at making well wishers assist the country with food aid.
Mutharikas’ food security initiatives should be congratulated but will be derailed by such greedy and corrupt individuals.
Nyasa Times reported in the past that Chaponda was fighting Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe so that the maize procurement should remain with him.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Sawelengela will be conducting these negotiations on behalf of the government.
DPP’s strongman, Chaponda, has had previous run ins with Ambassador Bowler in New York, when Ambassador Bowler reported serious corruption involving peacekeeping funds to him and Chaponda failed to report this matter to the Anti Corruption Bureau.
Ambassador Bowler went on to report the corruption to the President and the ACB.
When Nyasa Times pressed Ambassador Bowler how he felt of another Ambassador coming into his jurisdiction, he responded that “we are living in strange times and having served four Heads of State you never stop learning”.
Further pressed on his relationship with former Foreign Minister Chaponda, he simply said, he has no respect for him whatsoever.
Ambassador Bowler further commented that he read in the newspapers that Judases have surrounded the president.
“The biggest Judas, in my opinion, is Chaponda and I don’t expect him to like me,” Bowler said. “The greatest fear is fear itself,” he added.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :