Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, George Chaponda was on Monday forced to deny corruption allegations on maize import deal from Brazil when the matter was raised in Parliament.
Leader of Opposition, Lazarus Chakwera, first raised the issue in his question to the Minister after he had presented a ministerial statement on the food situation in the country.
Chakwera, who is also president of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) asked Chaponda to comment on the reports that he, personally, struck a deal in Brazil and that he allegedly demanded a cut from the deal to import maize from that country.
“The government has given an indication that [Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation] Admarc is purchasing maize from outside the country but there has been news (on Nyasa Times) that government would import maize from Brazil in which Admarc was not even involved but the Minister of Agriculture himself who has been promised cuts in the deal and others are involved for their own benefits,” Chakwera said.
Chakwera refused to judge Chaponda on reports without hearing from him.
“I will not make conclusions, but would rather hear from the minister himself.”
Chaponda denied the allegations, saying there were speculation aimed at tarnishing his good image.
The Ministers said he has not been to Brazil for the said maize import deal.
“As far as Brazil is concerned, this is news to me because nobody entered into a deal to procure maize there,” said Chaponda.
But outspoken Rumphi East MP, Kamlepo Kalua, angered Chaponda when he repeated the Brazil deal reports and accused Chaponda of being corrupt.
Kalua said he has it “on good authority” that Chaponda visited Brazil to discuss a maize deal.
But Chaponda denied the claims and demanded Kalua to bring evidence to substantiate his allegations that he vsited Brazil.
“He still claims that I went to Brazil and we cannot continue to work on lies from social media. In line with standing order 102, I am asking the honourable member [Kalua] to produce evidence by tomorrow,” Chaponda said.
Chaponda said the Brazil maize dea is “speculation” in the social media.
Kalua responded to Chaponda’s demand by saying he does not take ultimatums but he can bring evidence of the deal at his own opportune time.
Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Goodall Gondwe, came to Chaponda’s rescue when he said the proposal to import maize from Brazil was quashed after noting that the price was too high and the next option was Romania where quality maize was found at a reasonable price.
Speaker Richatrd Msowoya asked MP Kalua to bring evidence to the House, saying “using my power, I am ordering the Rumphi east MP to bring the evidence tomorrow Tuesday at 9:30 pm, failing which I will kick you out oftl the house.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :