Goodall implicated in $6.8m fertiliser deal, involved company with al-Qaeda ties

Former Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe has been implicated in the subsidy fertiliser scam by insisting that government buys the fertiliser from a Saudi Arabia company which had no capacity to deliver the required tonnage.

An Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) Investigation Report Ref. ACB/CR/BT/155/06 which Nyasa Times has a copy reveals that Gondwe blasted official from Smallholder Farmers Fertiliser Revolving Fund (SFFRFM) who were recommending that government sources the 2005 subsidy fertiliser from South Africa.

Gondwe is said to have blasted SFFRFM officials which included general manager Bester Ndisale and operations manager Biziwick Chinguwo who had been on a fertiliser surveillance trip to Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Ukraine and Russia together with government officials.

The delegation was led by Nerbert Nyirenda, the then Director of Public Enterprises Reform and Monitoring Unit (PERMU) and comprised of Ndisale, Chinguwo and Alex Namaona from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

Gondwe: Cost Malawi US$6.8 million dollars in fertiliser deal

“Dr Milton Kutengule (the then Secretary to the Treasury) then advised the   delegation to leave for their mission immediately and further stated that the Principal Secretary for Agriculture would follow later’. The mission left Malawi without knowing which fertilizer suppliers had been earmarked to be visited. However, Mr. Nebert Nyirenda informed his delegation that he would search on the internet the company they would be visiting,” reads the report in part.

“When the Delegation reached Saudi Arabia, the leader of the delegation Mr. Nebert Nyirenda, informed his members that they would meet and hold discussions with Pioneer Chemicals. Mr. Nebert Nyirenda indentified this supplier in Saudi Arabia.

“The delegation visited the facilities of Pioneer Chemicals. Their findings were that Pioneer Chemicals had a small factory and did not have capacity to meet the requirements of the subsidy fertilizer programme. The delegation then, while in Saudi Arabia, decided to inform the Secretary to Treasury, Dr Milton Kutengule, of these findings,” reads the report in part.

The findings of the team which were reported to Kutengule were that among other things the capacity of the indentified company Pioneer Chemicals was too small to meet the requirements of the desired quantities and that the offered prices of fertilizers in Saudi Arabia were generally not different from those offered in South Africa.

“The delegation, with the exception of Mr. Nebert Nyirenda, then decided to pass through South Africa on their way to Malawi, with the intention of meeting fertilizer companies there and assess their capabilities as well. While making arrangement to meet companies in South Africa, Dr Milton Kutengule phoned Mr. Ndisale and asked him what he was doing in South Africa. Dr Kutengule ordered the delegation to immediately stop whatever they were doing and return to Malawi.”

“A week later after the delegation’s arrival in Malawi; Mr. Nebert Nyirenda summoned both Mr. Ndisale and Mr. Chinguwo for a meeting at Ministry of Finance in Lilongwe with Dr. Goodall Gondwe. At the Ministry SFFRM management first met Dr. Milton Kutengule who stated that “NO MATTER WHAT, GOVERNMENT WOULD BUY FERTILIZER FROM SAUDI ARABIA”

“Dr Kutengule then took SFFRFM management to the Minister of Finance, Dr Goodall Gondwe, who challenged the SFFRFM management on why they recommended that the fertilizer be bought from South Africa and not Saudi Arabia. Dr Gondwe dressed down SFFRFM management and categorically asked them that “IN KAMUZU GOVERNMENT WOULD YOUBUY FERTILIZER LIKE THAT?” reads part of the report.

The report then reveals that from this moment on, Gondwe ordered the SFFRFM management not to do anything in relation to the decision making process with regard to where the subsidy fertilizer would be bought.

This decision, the report noted, defeated the technical advisory role of SFFRFM management had in the subsidy fertilizer procurement process.

“Government, through the three officials from Ministry of Finance, i.e. Dr Goodall Gondwe, Dr Milton Kutengule and Mr. Nebert Nyirenda then decided that the subsidy fertilizer Would be bought from Saud Arabia specifically from Pioneer Chemicals,” reads the report in part.

“From this time onwards, government never consulted SFFRF management on anything to do with the procurement of the subsidy fertilizer and resorted to giving SFFRFM management instructions and directives,” adds the report.

The report discloses that Pioneer Chemical failed to deliver the 70, 000 tones they were requested but delivered only 35, 000 tonnes of fertilizer and this forced government to source the commodity locally.

“The Malawi Government incurred a loss of US$6,898,150 (about MK1, 034,722,500) for procuring locally the 35,000 metric tons of Urea that Pioneer Chemicals failed to supply,” reads the report.

“We find that the Minister of Finance, Honourable Goodall Gondwe conducted himself in a manner conducive to corruption in that he coerced the Fertilizer Surveillance Team, comprising of Messrs Nerbert Nyirenda, Bester Ndisale, Bizwick Chinguwo and Alex Namaona to identify and select Pioneer Chemicals to supply 35,000 metric tons of Urea fertilizer and 35,000 metric tons of 23:21:0+4S in the 2005 —2006 subsidy fertilizer growing season,” reads findings of the investigation.

The ACB investigation also found Kutengule and Nyirenda to have ‘conducted themselves in a manner conducive to corruption’ on their various roles they played in the procurement of the subsidy fertilizer.

Meanwhile, Nyasa Times understand that the Saudi Arabia company  is thought to have links to terrorist group al-Qaeda.

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