Tractorgate scandal: Malawi govt wants Ombudsma report quashed

The Malawi government t is expected to put up a vigorous fight in  defending its actions, omissions and commissions regarding the disposal of farm equipment meant to benefit subsistence farmers but ended up in the backyards of the politically connected persons.

Let them face the music on the tractors and shellers scandal

The infamous ‘Tractorgate’ scandal revolves around the government’s decision in 2014 to sell off 177 tractors and 144 maize shellers intended as drought relief for small farmers to civil servants for a song.

The tractors, purchased for R740 000 each, were sold for R100 000 each, raising a paltry R12-million. The scam was allegedly disguised as a routine public auction of government equipment.

Court documents under civil case number 152 of 2016 and seen by Nyasa Times confirm that the High Court in Lilongwe has set January 13th 2017 for the initial hearing of the case.

If the High Court in Lilongwe agrees with the government then it means it has succeeded in shielding hordes of culprits some of whom faced prosecutions while some had been ordered to publicly apologize to the nation for their acts of maladministration.

While on the other hand if the court upholds the Ombuds report then it means, senior government officials in the Office of the President and cabinet, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Finance will be legally obliged to implement key remedial actions raised in the report.

The tractors and shellers were part of a $50-million (R695-million) development scheme known as the Green Belt Initiative, which was set up to buffer millions of peasant farmers from drought.

Funded by a loan from the Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank), the scheme sought to put about a million hectares of farmland under irrigation and improve food security for peasant farmers, who make up 70% of Malawi’s population.

The government’s move to file for a stay order to stop the implementation of key recommendationsof the Ombuds report and its push for a judicial review, is largely seen as last ditch attempt to shield the named culprits.

In its submissions the government bashed the Ombud’scall for senior government officials to publicly apologise to the people of Malawi saying it was unreasonable claiming there was no independent assessment to verify claims by the Ombudsman’s report that government procured archaic tractors from India.

It also claimed that the Ombuds abdicated her duties saying her dictating on how the National Assembly should conducts its business in its handling of loan authorization bills was faulty.

The Ombud’s report – submitted, ironically, to the implicated parliamentary Speaker Msowoya two months ago – finds that the sale was “illegal and irregular”.

Titled “The Present, The Future Overburdened”, the report cites nine instances of gross maladministration by government officials.

Among other key recommendations, the Ombuds called for the crackdown on state procurement chiefs implicated in the country’s multibillion-kwacha “Tractorgate” scandal.

The only known person among the state procurement chiefs is the IPC chairperson, Rashid KhamaMtelela, from the Office of the President and the Cabinet.

The IPC’s members are known to have been senior civil servants drawn mainly from the president’s office and the agriculture ministry.

Many of the Tractorgate beneficiaries are also powerful individuals. The Ombud’s report implicates 68 alleged beneficiaries, including the foreign affairs minister and ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spin doctor Frances Kasaila; the family of former president BinguwaMutharike; the Speaker of Parliament, Richard Msowoya; and President Peter Mutharika’s chief of staff, Peter Mukhito.

Also, alleged to have benefited is Mulli Brothers, a controversial Malawian company with mutually beneficial ties to the DPP.

Earlier this year Chimuza-Mwagonde told the Centre for Investigative Journalism (Malawi) that she had received death threats in connection with her investigation into large-scale graft in the Green Belt Initiative.

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Xoconzo-Ceramzi
Guest

Typical of DPP, stealing and corruption. No wonder even cash gate is the brain child of DPP through its infamous IFMIS. Mwayitola Malawi kwabasi. This sort of this could not be there if we had the likes of youthful but intelligent guys such as Malema of South Africa. Malawians is just a crop of numb citizenry and its youth group is just a bunch of alcoholists and womanisers, good for nothing, my God!

Lands management
Guest

Another beneficiary is Mrs Luhanga PS Ministry of Lands, first wife of Former Agriculture PS.
Lady PS, a very dubious character. She ill treats people here at the ministy and is busy back stabbing her own Minister AAM.

Tapentadol
Guest

shame on ruling government

Chambe
Guest

Why was the disposal process not advertised on Tender for Auction? Isn’t also this matter serous like the maize gate? I find it weird in that the voices of complain for maize gate are num on this critical scandal that has also resulted in the contribution of hunger though indirectly. If these tractors were used as intended, land preparations by villagers could have been quicker and easier.

Mbako
Guest

Ombudsman is a government agency. Is government fighting its own agency? Are determinations by this office supposed to be vetted by qthe attorney general?

MONALISA
Guest

MULUNGU WELUZANI NDI KUKANTHA NDINU ADOBADOBA WONSE (CASHGATERS) WODYERA
MASUKU PA MITU YA WANTHU WOBVUTIKA

ALOSWEA
Guest

Mkanakhala ndimapiko mkana uluka kupita ku dziko lina ndikapume mmmm ma gate,achuluka cashgate ,maizegate,tractorgate

Mkwapu
Guest

Dpp oyee
Full of scandals

Achimidzimidzi
Guest

No wonder Malawi remains poor. There is no reasoning, good enough to justify the sale of the equipment.

If really the tractors were too old and not suitable, how come you bought them and for what??? If they were faulty, government would have sold them to the cooperatives or associations, not individuals.

Effectively, what happened was that government got a loan on behalf of the mentioned people and as such government should pay back the loan on behalf of the individuals as well.

Only Malawian president can accept this trash.

Achi
Guest
The minister of agricilture is equally a beneficiary. The said tractor is at his farm in ntcheu, unfortunately in his greed, he has grabbed the only tractor assigned for hire to farmers in Ntcheu as well. Why on earth shud he abuse his ministerial power to take the Ntcheu District Agriculture Office tractor and park it at his famr while he leaves his own “robbed” tractor lying idle in the bachyard yet ordinary farmers in Ntcheu suffer? The minister collected the Ntcheu tractor over 6 months ago, unfortunately he has paid nothing, forcing the DADOs office to pay back money… Read more »
wpDiscuz

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