Acting secretary general of ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Francis Mphepo has issued a statement in defence of the party vice president and Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda over Zambian maize misprocurement saga and accused leader of opposition Lazarous Chakwera, the media and civil society organisation for plotting to incite violence because of the maizegate scandal.
Mphepo offered defence of Chaponda and state-trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc), saying Admarc is dealing with Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZFC), a government agency and not middleman, Kaloswe Commuter and Courier Ltd .
He said no money has been paid for the maize to Kaloswe, saying one of the terms on the contract was that ADMARC will only start paying when ZCF deliverers 10,000 tones.
Mphepo said the delivered maize so far is less than 5,000 tonnes and payment cannot be processed until the threshold of 10,000 tonnes is met.
“The reports in the paper that Admarc is buying maize from Zambian government through Kaloswe at $345 per ton when Kaloswe is buying it from Zambian government at $215 are grossly malicious and totally false,” Mphepo, a close ally of Chaponda, said in the statement.
Mphepo stressed that Admarc is dealing with ZCF who have “a few agents” buying the grain from Zambian farmers to deliver to Malawi on their behalf “but Kaloswe is not one of them.”
According to Mphepho, Kaloswe contract with Admarc and ZCF was terminated.
“At one point Kaloswe tried to reinstate his contract with Admarc and ZCF by asking for an advance payment from the LC (letter of credit) which is in favour of ZCF,” said Mphepo.
He said the request was rejected because doing so “would have been going outside the LC’s conditions of payment.”
Mphepo also defended Admarc decision for taking an injunction stopping Daily Times from reporting on maizegate, saying it is not gagging orders but a court order to stop the paper from “printing lies.”
The state-trader has since lifted the injunction and the paper claimed it has been vindicated.
Mphepo claim the bad headlines of the maizegate is politically inspired, saying it is “a sponsored plot” which has implications on national security.
“We know the schemers of this plot are planning violent protests against the current unsibsdised prices of maize at Admarc,” claimed Mphepo.
Mphepo accused Chakwera as one of the plotters “in the shameless fabrication” but did not name others.
The DPP secretary general said Malawians should work against “selfish chequebook journalists and irresponsible power hungry politicians.”
But leader of opposition Chakwera, who is also Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president dismissed claims by Mphepo, saying he was peddling “shameless propaganda.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :