Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson Alekeni Menyani said state produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) is being used as a tool for money laundering and Cashgate, said billions of money have been siphoned at the institution.
“Admarc is losing billions of kwacha but nobody wants to do a functional review of the institution and put this to an end,” said Menyani.
His comments were made after more rot was exposed at the institution when PAC met officials from ministry for Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development on Thursday over the 2014/15 Auditor General’s report.
Admarc, embroiled in maize scam following questionable maize imports from Zambia, had K4 billion realised from the sale of SS530 448 tonnes of maize on behalf of Malawi government account to the Audit Report of 2013/14 but the money realised was not accounted for.
Menyani said Admarc must give information on “particular account where the money was put.”
He said his committee will “dig deeper” into the matter and even involve the graft-busting body, Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB).
Menyani also said the Ministry of Agriculture failed to account for K9.3 billion for personal emoluments.
He said an issue such as Farm Inputs Subsidy Programme (Fisp) is a tool of money laundering.
“Cashgate [plunder of public resources] is continuing with a new twist,” observed Menyani.
However, Bright Kumwenda the controlling officer at Ministry of Agriculture assured that government plans to have functional review for Admarc to clarify to the public the duties of the institution.
Admarc acting CEO Margret Roka Mauwa is on record saying the institution which is currently choked with a K37 billion debt fails to fulfil its obligations based on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) it has with government.
Currently, Admarc operates 700 markets and nine major depots nationwide. Out of the markets, 205 are classified as uneconomic.
Under the MoU arrangement, government is supposed to reimburse Admarc the cost of running the markets. However, this has not been happening to date.
Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet) national coordinator Pamela Kuwali said as a commercial entity, the expectation is that Admarc should be able to use its proceeds to cover costs.
“But it is important to note that Admarc is still a public entity whose mandate is to provide service to Malawians, intervene to ensure that prices offered to farmers are competitive and that maize is available at an affordable price for Malawians.
“The State is, therefore, responsible to ensure that Admarc functions and its operations continue. It must be noted that Admarc is only commercial in principle; in reality government owns 99 percent of its shares,” she said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :