Law enforcing agencies are still pursing leads to the vital role Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe played in the corruption scandal which threatens to end the political career of Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda, Nyasa Times understands.
Chaponda used a radio interview to question why the Finance Minister was not b quizzed in the Maizegate linking the maize purchase to his name as a stakeholder in alleged underhand dealings.
But Gondwe said claimed his role was minimal in the whole procurement of maize.
“Our role as ministry of Finance was to issue the LC (Letters of Credit). Even this was not done by us; it was done by the Reserve Bank of Malawi. So the Reserve Bank of Malawi was dealing directly with Admarc (the Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation),” he said.
However, Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) has been investigating the matter still.
Gondwe is amongst the State witnesses to testify against Chaponda in the court case.
Meanwhile, sources say, Gondwe himself could face the music for his role as Chaponda told the parliamentary inquiry on maize gate that at times he battled with Gondwe over the procurement processes as the Finance minister felt the Agriculture minister was overstepping his feet.
Meanwhile, Nkhotakota South East MP Everson Mkakowa-Mwale (Malawi Congress Party –MCP) on Thursday standing on a matter of urgent public importance in Parliament asked Finance Minister why State produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) loans were cleared through Ministry of Agriculture allocations.
Makowa-Mwale told Parliament that on October 27 this year, Treasury transferred money to Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and issued a memo instructing the ministry to repay the loans on behalf of Admarc.
The legislator, who shielded the names of the banks, revealed the commercial banks received K16 billion, K4.7 billion and K2.4 billion through a payment made on November 7.
Gondwe said government had to bail out Admarc because it failed to recover the money from the sale of maize in the 2016/17 financial year which ended on June 30.
Admarc acting chief executive officer Margaret Roka-Mauwa is on record saying maize bought using borrowed funds from commercial banks has been selling maize at almost give-away prices due to free food distribution issued to people.
Gondwe told the House that government guaranteed Admarc loans.
“The maize was bought from within the country, something like 98 000 metric tonnes [MT],” said Gondwe.
The country’s purse keeper said the loans were paid through Ministry of Agriculture because Treasury does not deal directly with Admarc but its line ministry.
Gondwe downplayed the decision to ask Admarc to buy maize using loans following “wrong forecast”.
He said: “But I cannot say this was another form of Cashgate. At the time , it was clear what had to be done after what happened that year.”
Gondwe conceded that the loan repayment would have a negative impact on the performance of the 2017/18 budget, saying his is not happy at all.
“This means the budget will have to be looked at again,” he said.
Admarc was established as a statutory corporation in 1971. Until 1987, it was a sole buyer of smallholder produce, a monopoly that was removed with a controlled liberalisation of agricultural trade. In 2003, Admarc was incorporated as a limited liability company with government owning 99 percent of the shares.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :