Mulumbe contradicts Admarc board on suspension: Insists no cash transferred to Zambia in maizegate

Calm, collected and composed, that is how Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) Chief Executive Officer, Foster Mulumbe, appeared before the parliamentay inquiry on Wednesday but his contradictory statements and incosistencies failed to win the hearts of the legislators.

Mulumbe also contradicted  the State-trader’s board of directors  that he was sent on ‘forced leave’ on his alleged involvement in the dubious purchase of maize from Zambia, saying he voluntary went on leave.

Admarc CEO Foster Mulumbe: No cash remitted to Zambia

Admarc board chair James Masumbu had confirmed that the recent board meeting had resolved that Mulumbe be sent on leave and that his deputy be in charge to pave way for investigations by the newly instituted Commission of Inquiry by President Peter Mutharika.

Mulumbe, who appeared before the Public Accounts Committee and the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development which are holding public inquiries into the ‘maizegate’, a term referring to alleged fraudulent transactions that Admarc was involved in when purchasing maize from Zambia, said he was not sent on ‘forced leave’ but he applied for holiday which started on Monday, January 16.

But the board insists Mulumbe was  “forced”  to go on leave after members agreed during the meeting which was attended  by Secretary to Treasury Ronald Mangani and Controller for Statutory Corporations.

The board of the State produce trader which made the decision to send Mulumbe on  leave included two lawyers, Masumbu and Chancy Gondwe, Inkosi Gomani, politicians Ken Ndanga and Jaffalie Mussa. Other members present were Milward Nyangulu and Umderanji Mabandambanda.

During the session with the legislators, Mulumbe maintained that there is no wrong doing on his part in the maizegate.

Accompanied by deputy CEO Margret Roka and director of finance Henry Kanjere, Mulumbe insisted that that no funds have been remitted to any of the two Zambian suppliers, privately-owned Kaloswe Commuter and Courier Limited and Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF).

He said ZCF has not been paid because it has delivered less than 5 000 metric tonnes of maize as the condition of payment of the Letter of Credit (LC) was that ZFC shall be paid after the maize is delivered to Admarc in Lilongwe and upon production of a signed Received Goods Note (RGN).

At times stammering, Mulumbe told the suspicious MPs how Admarc terminated the maize contract with Kaloswe after discovering the company had no export licence, did not have a single grain as it projected and failed to name the source of its maize.

He also appeared to defend Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, George Chaponda, that he had minimal role in the procurement of the maize.

“The role that Malawi government did was to provide documentation to give us guarantee to borrow money from PTA bank based on $345 per tonne multiplied by 4 112 metric tonnes which was delivered,” said Mulumbe.

He said government also negotiated with their counterparts in Zambia for the maize to be exported to Malawi since the time they were sourcing the grain, Zambia had an export ban.

Mulumbe, however, admitted that no advise was sought from Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs before signing the contracts.

On allegations of corruption element that  Admarc bought the maize at $345 per metric tonne up from $215 per metric tonne, Mulumbe clarified that the former figure was calculated as delivery from the northeast of Zambia while the later figure was for Lilongwe delivery “which Admarc opted for.”

The inquiry raised eyebrows as the documents submitted indicated that the Office of Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) received a request for a letter of no objection from Admarc on 17 June 2016 and reviewed the same within hours before issuing the no objection letter the following day.

MP Richard Chimwendo Banda said the rushing of the ODPP “looks suspicious” as the office was supposed to handle the matter with “caution” due to the amount of money involved.

“Additionally, there is some twist of which was supposed to start between the request for a letter of no objection and the issuance of the same,” Chimwendo Banda said.

Mulumbe told the inquiry that they signed the deal hurriedly because of the “urgency of the matter where Admarc had to have the maize immediately.”

ODPP chief Paul Limbani Taulo also told the lawmakers that everything was done in a hurry because of the dire need to have the grain.

Mulumbe has since told them that no agent was used in the deal and that Kaloswe has not yet sued Admarc as it has been widely reported.

He said Admarc first wanted to buy maize from Zambian Grain Traders Association, but failed due to the price, and later negotiated with Kaloswe who offered the grain at $345 per tonne but Kaloswe failed to perform on his contract and the deal was signed with ZFC.

At one point MP for Rumphi East clashed with Mulumbe when he told the Admarc boss not to approach the committee with “laser-faire attitude” when he queried him on  contradiction of dates.

Mulumbe protested: “This kind of intimidation is not fair.”

The parliamentary inquiry  on maizegate is being covered live on Times Radio.

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imran saadik
7 years ago

Anthu amenewa afufuzeso za fertilizer subsidy chifukwa sizomveka kuti 2014/2015 growing season coupon inali K500.00 lero 2016/2017 growing season yafika K7,000.00 yomwe yakwera kwambiri ndipo zitha kuonesakuti A chaponda apondaso kumeneku

Zaya ku Nkhongo
Zaya ku Nkhongo
7 years ago

This MP Richard Chimwendo Banda is such an idiot. Inu nomwe you were complaining that the DPP government is doing nothing about the hunger in the country. ODPP receives a request for no objection and it diligently appraises it within hours you see suspicion in this. What cheek? Akhalilenso muziti ODPP is incompetent?. From the looks of it all opposition MPs are in a fishing expedition nkhani iyi the opposition will be left with egg on your face. Guess what? – DPP has enough ammunition to come back at you big time come elections. Come elections inu simuwothela, simuwina, simungawinenso.… Read more »

Accountant wa Ma Accountant
Accountant wa Ma Accountant
7 years ago

I am an accountant by professional and my advise to the said parliamentary inquiry is to look into issue with no prejudice (answers already in their heads). In Malawi we have a few banks, why are they failing to ask the banks if there is any payment or transfer of funds to Zambia on the maize purchase? The amount mentioned is big such that it can only be externalized once the RBM has approved. For your own information all purchases from abroad are in foreign currencies you can not purchase goods in Malawi Kwacha. Mupusa kenako beacause of lack of… Read more »

7 years ago

Just because he is telling you what you don’t want hear, then he is contradictory. Just because the man is relaxed and composed, he is showing the laser-faire attitude. If the panel’s attitude is declaring Mulumbe guilty until proven innocent then this whole exercise is political and another wasteful expenditure.

Concerned Mcp
7 years ago

Please Malawians why are we toutchering one another .
This issue is politically motivated. Do we really go to church. If mulibe dues to say then with your tight suits you go and attend his funeral. Stupid Malawians stupid Chakwera
You will all of you see the hand of God if you are not careful

New Blood
New Blood
7 years ago

Big Man CHAPONDA apanidwenso.

Papa Chalo
Papa Chalo
7 years ago

Yes; Calm, collected and composed. What do you expect?
he is an expert in fraud.

Maybe Malawi was smuggling maize in Zambia. The law must
be applied without mercy. If the process was rushed due to
the urgency, why then selling it at a prohibitive price?

Mulumbe plus those shielding him must be punished kaya President.

7 years ago

Time to be frank. This now seems to be a battle by Northerners and that criminal Party, MCP, it’s leaders and acolytes like the Times Group, against this government. Just another way to fell the government, when elections clearly favored DPP. (The electors clearly said: down with MCP and PP! Plain and simple.) How can anyone conclude otherwise when the evidence is so abundant, on this website and elsewhere? Shenanigans just to get access to Mpando woNona baasi (the Presidency), through the backdoor; no less. Mulumbe will not be intimidated or bullied by any MP, especially ones from the North… Read more »

Apao Kugola
Apao Kugola
7 years ago

If Kaloswe did not have a single grain and therefore the contract was aborted, who sold the 4112 metric tones of grain that Admarc has already received at the same price offered by Kaloswe? Can’t they be consistent in their presentation of facts? Komadi wakuba amavutika kulongosola nkhani eti. Kuno ku Thondwe achaponda wootcha akugulitsidwa pa mtengo wanji K90 chitsononkho chimodzi.

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