Times scruple Cama report on Malawi maizegate: Kapito blasted as Zambia query Chishimba over ‘false claims’

Consumer Association of Malawi (Cama) and its executive director John Kapito are facing a barrage of criticism from Malawi’s flagship newspaper, The Daily Times over its conclusion that no money was paid in the maize procurement from Zambia saga christening as maizegate and also clearing Minister of Agriculture George Chaponda and Admarc Chief Executive Officer Foster Mulumbe in the import deal.

Kapito blasted for ‘sustaining a living through dubious bargains on behalf of consumers’

Cama it conducted its own investigation after the commission of inquiry that President Peter Mutharika established to investigate the matter attracted criticism over its composition, with civil society organisations (CSO) asking to be included in the commission.

Also probing the matter is the Parliament Committee on Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, and the Anti-Corruption Bureau.

Presenting findings of their so called investigation, CAMA boss Kapito told a news conference in Blantyre that so far money has changed hands from Malawi to Zambia in the maize saga.

Zambia’s Nation newspaper has also published a story on Wednesday January 18, 2017 titled ‘Maizegate scandal explode’ in which it reports that allegations  that Malawi paid K26 billion  ( $34.5 million) loan obtained  from the Eastern and Southern African Development Bank (PTA Bank) to purchase 100, 000 metric tonnes of maize from government of Zambia are “totally untrue”.

But Daily Times in Malawi queried the consumer activist Kapito, saying in its editorial comment that his stand “defies reason.”

“The voice of reason does not come from everyone and everyone who has tried to justify or conceal wrong-doing in the much-publicised maize scandal is doing Malawi great injustice,” the paper said.

Times accused Kapito of abandoning ordinary Malawians by attempting to trivialise the magnitude of the maize scandal.

“It is obvious that Kapito no longer represents the interests of the consumers that he claims to defend,” the paper observed.

It further stated that it is unthinkable that Kapito has leapt to the defence of Minister of Agriculture George Chaponda and Admarc Chief Executive Officer Foster Mulumbe when there is evidence that every effort was made to silence those who have vowed to report the truth.

“Looking at a series of events since the maize scandal was first reported, there have been attempts – most notably by Mulumbe – to silence the voices that questioned the role of Admarc in this deal. He sought protection from the court but thankfully, that was just a futile attempt.

“It is strange that Kapito believes he has an assured voice that can explain the events better.”

Kapito has said he is ready to prove beyond reasonable doubt that no money was paid to the supplier, but the newspaper noted that those suspected to have been involved in the deal are “either feigning ignorance or are uttering sweet nothings that cannot be easily comprehended.”

In its scathing attack to the CAMA boss, the paper’s editorial said Kapito should have reserved the resources “he wasted and instead investigated how ordinary Malawians have been affected by the imposed new maize prices. Should Kapito be reminded that majority of the poor people cannot afford a 50 kg bag of maize?”

The daily said it admires Kapito for siding with consumers in the past “but the route he has now taken is dangerous which is very worrying considering that activists must strive to protect the poor people at all times.”

Kapito, according to the paper, has lost the trust of the consumer and that “it is time he stopped sustaining a living through dubious bargains on behalf of consumers.”

Meanwhile, Zambia’s Daily Nation newspaper reports that the first whistle blower, United Progress Party (UPP) president Savour Chishimba failed to substantiate his claims that money exchanged hands among officials of Zambia private company Kaloswe Commuter, Courier Ltd or   Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZFC), a government agency and Malawi government.

“There is us$13million at play but I don’t want to jeopardise the investigations. It looks the price was inflated but I don’t want to pre-empt what the ACC (Anti Corruption Commission – of Zambia) has started doing.

“They were having meetings and money exchanged hands among officials from institutions that have been mentioned,” said Chishimba in quotes reported by Zambia’s Daily Nation on Wednesday.

The paper also reported that Zambian government has blasted Chishimba over “false claims.”

Zambia’s Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya has said that the Zambian government has nothing to do with the maizegate as the Malawian government did not buy maize from the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) but from individual farmers.

Siliya said the only role the Zambian government played was to issue a permit of clearance, while the Malawian government came and identified a private agent to procure the maize on its behalf.

“We allowed for the export to Malawi because the contract was signed before the ban on exports was effected.

“The contract was signed in June 2016 under a government-government arrangement to help Malawi with the commodity following a drought which only spared Zambia in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC),” said Siliya in quoted  in a report by Zambian Observer.

“The Malawian government identified an agent, the maize suppliers and also negotiated the terms without any input from the Government,” she said.

She said after the Malawian government sought Zambia’s assistance; the Government provided them with a permit to import maize while the maize export ban was still in effect.

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#TOTB#
Guest

Maizegate Investigator:

CAMA

CSOs

ACB

Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture & Irrigation

Commission of Inquiry instituted by the President

All these are either squandering tax payers or donor money, which by the end of the day would be adequate to buy some more maize for the poor Malawian.

Just Thinking Outside The Box #TOTB#

Chabwino Palibe
Guest

Times newspaper is a big disgrace. The MCP guy in charge of Times, George Kasakula believes that he alone has a monopoly of knowledge. You must agree with Kasakula or go to hell. What kind of free speech is that?

Mr Kasakula, please slow down. Your newspaper goofed big time when it alleged that MK13BILLION has been stolen. You know that the truth is that no money was paid. Is it not possible to promote your MCP agenda without propagating falsehood, Mr Kasakula?

Mweene
Guest
Times Group now have tunnel vision regarding this issue. And they are our to discredit anyone, and everyone that disputes their claims. Claims is all they are. And they think, by protecting their columnists, they will be seen as an anti-corruption crusader. When they were founded by money stolen by their “founder”, Kamuzu Banda. They cannot discredit Kapito, arguably the most trusted consumer advocate in this country. And he can put his record of public approval, any time, against the pathetic one of Times. Critics should NOT re-calibrate their arguments now that Bwana Chaponda’s involvement is disputed by credible witnesses.… Read more »
Zinenani
Guest

But the Zambian agriculture minister is agreeing that they gave clearance for the Malawi government to have the maize and so what is kapito saying? The admarc CEO and the minister agrees that the maize was bought without any corruption. Did they get the maize freely or on ngongole if money was not paid mr kapito?

rodriguez
Guest

Which school did ‘Capital’ (Kapito) go to for him to be able to conduct, conclude and publisize credible investigation within a week? Was an investigation or child’s play? Eroded is the little trust that remained og CAMA. Or is it an appeasement to government so that they send you for medical attention outside the country, your looks tells a sickly, sad story. Desperate and dwindling. No more trust in you and CAMA, sir!

Amoze
Guest

Why is Times Group very much interested? Are they doing this in good faith? We all know it being owned by Kamuzu Banda’s family! People like Brian Banda lost their soul when he agreed to be Joyce Banda’s Press secretary, and nothing good can come out of his mouth period! Soon we shall find who paid them to promote this malafide!!

mmc
Guest

Times Just give us your investigation no need to diss Kapito. Are u also becoming intolerant to dissenting views like DPP? Are u also becoming arrogant like DPP? Are u now beginning to make stories instead of reporting? Are u really working for the people or some political masters?

Okoma Atani
Guest

Both Kapito and the Zambian Nation newspaper are saying no payment was made.

Atumbuka pindani michila msangamsanga mwapurika?

Mzuzu court chitani manyazi!

One day Chaponda will rule this country. Sorry wakwithu for the failed plot on Chaponda and DPP.

chikopa
Guest
This is stupid journalism where reporters and editors do not structured trade and finance. The letters from RBM indicate that Letter of Credit had some irregularities/errors which had to be rectified by the beneficiary. Furthermore, LCs can only be paid once the documents have presented by beneficiary which fully show evidence of delivery such as Bill of Ladings, Way Bills or Air Way Bills and these must be confirmed by issuing bank before draw down on the LC can allowed. This is not what happened here because RBM was part of the Issuing Party. Some money could have exchanged hands… Read more »
Harawara
Guest
My friend and I have decided to institute our own investigations because we cant trust those that are on the ground. Can someone pay us allowances. There are so many investigations some whom are suspicious and paid by suspects to misinform citizens. CAMA because of its loudest noise seems to be on the suspects side – doing mercenary work. The suspects made all attempts to stop Malawians from seeing, smelling, feeling, discussing and hearing about the maizegate. That failed. All they can do now is to ask friends, relatives and tribesmen fund them to conduct false and invalid investigations. In… Read more »
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