- Procurement procedures were not followed
- No money exchanged hands
- ACB to probe Chaponda’s conduct with Transglobe
- Admarc officials should be subjected to dispclinary
President Peter Mutharika has said he would take action on Minister of Agricultute, Irrigation and Water Development, Geogre Chaponda and Transglobe who have been recommended in the presidential commission of inquiry on Zambia maize procurement saga to be investigated by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
Mutharika said this on Saturday when he received a report on maizegate from the State sanctioned commission of inquiry.
Retired Chief Justice Anastazia Msosa, outlined key issues when presenting her statement to the President.
Msosa was chairing the probe team which included secretary of the commission Mike Chinoko, the Solicitor General Janet Banda and public auditor Isaac Kayira said their findings are based on the testimony of witnesses interviewed by the Commission both in Malawi and Zambia; the observations of the Commission as it interviewed the witnesses; and on the analysis of the documentation made available to the Commission.
She also saif the Commission also found helpful some of the interviews conducted by the Joint Committee of Parliament tasked to investigate the surroundings concerning the purchase of maize by ADMARC from Zambia
Whilst not naming Chaponda and Transglobe directly, Mutharika said he would act on the recommendations.
The Justice Anastanzia Msosa commission found Chaponda and Transglobe of suspicious corrupt practices on the procurement of the maize from Zambia.
“He (Chaponda) was reckless in providing guidance in the whole deal,” says the report.
Msosa said procurement procedures were flouted, ministry of Justice officials were completely left out whilst Admarc officials were reckless in the whole maize procurement process.
“The Commission also established that when Hon. Chaponda went to Zambia as a special envoy, a Tayub of Transglobe was also in Zambia meeting with officials in the Ministry of Agriculture. The Commission found two notable things about this development. First, the export ban was lifted. Second, the Ministry of Agriculture in Zambia issued export licences to both ZCF and Transglobe splitting the contract tonnage of 100,000 metric tons that was contracted between ZCF and ADMARC in equal share of 50,000 metric tons with Transglobe.
“This development cannot be attributed to coincidence. It raises suspicion in relation to dealings between the Minister and Transglobe. One can therefore not rule out the possibility of corrupt dealings between the two parties,” reads the report in part.
She said the report therefore suggests the graft busting body should investigate Chaponda and Transglobe whilst Admarc officials involved in the procurement of the maize need to be disciplined.
The report also recommends that the government should ensure maize at the strategic food reserve is always stocked at 75 per cent.
This puts to rest weeks of investigations totaling to 40 days on the suspicious of maize procurement.
The Commission established that management of ADMARC entered into the Kaloswe contract without the knowledge of the Board despite the huge sums involved guaranteed by Government.
In addition, Internal Procurement Committe of ADMARC was not involved at this stage.
“Further, the Commission established that ADMARC management entered into the said contract without seeking prior approval from ODPP (Office of the Director of public Procurement) and without the involvement of Mistry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs regarding the vetting of the contract as required by the Public Finance Management Act Cap: 37:02 of the Laws of Malawi.
“The non-compliance with the Public Procurement Act at the time of signing this contract rendered this a misprocurement. The Commission established that after signing the Kaloswe contract on the 17th June, 2016, ADMARC IPC met on the same day and recommended the single sourcing of Kaloswe as a 35 supplier of the maize. However, the Commission noted that the IPC did not identify and consider at least three suppliers nor justify the choice of Kaloswe as required by the Public Procurement Act.
“Further, the minutes of the IPC were signed by the Chairperson, Mr Feckson Kantonga, who was at the time of the meeting in Zambia. Based on these factors, the Commission finds that the procedure adopted by the IPC of ADMARC was irregular. The Commission concludes that this process was invalid,” reads the report.
The Commission found that no money has been drawn under the Letter of Credit. The Letter of Credit expired on 31st December, 2016.
The Commission also established that if there are costs associated with the Letter of Credit, the same will be borne by ZCF after failing to deliver on the contract.
Further, the Commission noted that although Government guaranteed this loan, ADMARC has in the past fully serviced the loans on their own under similar arrangements.
It is the Commission’s finding that the use of the letter of credit and the way it was structure ensured that Government would not be exposed to financial loss from this arrangement.
The report is likely to be welcomed by civil society organisations who forced Mutharika to take action following the suspicious maize procurement deals which involved the Agriculture minister Chaponda and Admarc CEO Foster Mulumbe.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :