Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito has called the rot in the procurement process of maize from neighbouring Zambia as “stinky” and also “humiliating” to the leadership of Malawi for its suspected corruption scandal.
The maize purchase deal is currently marred with controversy regarding contractual issues involving the State-produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc).
While Admarc boss Foster Mulumbe insists that Admarc is buying the staple grain from Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF), a government agency, documents show that Admarc is actually using a private Zambian company, Kaloswe Commuter and Courier Limited.
“This transaction is not only stinky, it is also humiliating to the leadership of this country,” said Kapito on Daybreak Malawi program aired on Capital Radio on Thursday.
Kapito has since backed calls for an inquiry to be carried out.
He, however, said the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Irrigation and Food Security should outsource an independent body of expertise to conduct the probe.
Human rights activist Charles Kajoloweka also backed the calls for a commission of inquiry to be set up to investigate the entire process.
And Timothy Mtambo the executive director of Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) has said the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) should. institute investigations into reports of corruption in the purchase of maize from Zambia “as a matter of urgency.”
Mtambo said: “ACB should be seen to be proactive in fighting corruption rather than waiting for a complaint, as we have recently been made to believe.”
Meanwhile, Kaloswe is suing Admarc for breach of contract.
According to Kaloswe chief executive officer, Isaac Kapambwe, his company signed a contract with Admarc in June 2016 to purchase and deliver maize.
Kapambwe said his company has “all communications” on the deal with Admarc.
Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Food Security George Chaponda has not commented on the matter.
But Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Irrigation and Food Security chairperson Joseph Chidanti-Malunga said they will grill Chaponda to explain the perceived mess, particularly on the use of a private company as a broker of the maize deal in Zambia.
Malawi government spokesman and Minister of Information, Nicholous Dausi, has said accusing government of corruption in the maize deal is “fallacious”, saying the matter is being blown out of proportion by Zambian opposition leader, Saviour Chishimba.
Chishimba said in statement that on 6th September 2016, Admarc boss Malumbe wrote an email to Kaloswe “in which he was categorically re-affirming that all logistical costs on the Zambian size would be met by Kaloswe as per the agreement. “
The same email was copied to the First Capital Bank.
“On 6th September 2016, ZCF wrote a letter to Kaloswe in which they were confirming that logistical payments are to be made to Kaloswe on need-based. This letter was signed by a Mr. Frank Munthali the ZCF director of finance. The director of finance was replying to the request by Kaloswe to be paid an advance of US$350, 000 for logistics. Apparently, ZCF indicated that the payment would be considered ‘…once the documents are finalised,” Chishimba claimed.
But Dausi said on Capital Radio: “These are intentional statements by political party leader opposition in Zambia Mr Chishimba. We would want to have the details of the allegations that he has levelled against both sides of the government.”
Dausi, a former state chief spy said he cannot be drawn into “international police investigators or crime investigators.”
Malawi government obtained a loan of K26 billion from the Eastern and Southern African Development Bank (PTA Bank) to purchase 100, 000 metric tonnes of maize from government of Zambia through Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF).
In October, Admarc said by November it would have brought in about 300 000 metric tonnes from Zambia and overseas countries such as Brazil, Mexico and Romania.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :