A joint committee of Parliament which conducted an inquiry into Admarc maize procurement from neighbouring Zambia finally presented its report to parliament on Wednesday which also echoed recommendation of presidential commission of inquiry that Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda should be further investigated on corruption element.
Inquiry chair Joseph Chidanti Malunga said the investigation was worth it because it has saved a lot of money which could have exchanged hands through abuse of office and corruption through the procurement of maize from Zambia.
“We have saved the country from possible drowning,” said Malunga amid applause and hand-clapping.
Chaponda appeared before the committee following submissions from Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) and Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development that he led a delegation to Zambia to broker the maize deal where the State grain trader was expected to source 100 000 metric tonnes of maize.
The report tears apart Agriculture minister Chaponda’s testimony that the country was in a critical food crisis therefore some laws had to be flouted just to get maize for the starving majority.
Malunga said the procurement procedures were flouted willy nilly and there seemed to be no regard for the law.
The reports indicate explictly in the grey areas where the procedures were flouted.
Mangochi Monkey Bay MP Ralph Jooma said there was need to discipline some controlling officers in government to prevent and control the thefts. He cited the example of Agriculture ministry principal secretary Erica Maganga whom he accused of lying under oath several times.
However, the House was thrown into turmoil when Chaponda stood to respond to the numerous accusations he had in the report.
Some vocal members of parliament said Chaponda was not part of the inquiry therefore he was not supposed to make any comment before debate on the report started.
Government chief whip Henry Mussa strangely decided with the opposition members of parliament in the matter and said Chaponda should not be given time to talk until the debate started.
Chaponda, however, stood up and said it was out of order to claim there was no food crisis in the country.
He claimed there was only 1000 metric tonnes of maize in the silos. However, he could not proceed any further as Speaker Richard Msowoya said could not debate on the matter.
He said the debate would be on on Thursday, quashing suggestions by Mussa to have the debate on Wednesday next week.
“This is the matter which is at the centre of controversy. Let us debate it as soon as we can so that we allow different state prosecuting agencies do their job,” he said.
Msowoya said Malawians want the matter concluded as soon as possible and see justice done.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :