Transglobe denies using influence to get permit in Malawi-Zambia maizegate

Transglobe Produce Exports Limited Directors appeared before the joint parliamentary committee probing maize acquisition from Zambia where they categorically denied using influence to acquire an export permit for maize in Zambia.

Chaponda did not mee Transglobe director Tayub in Zambia

The two directors, Salim and Rashid Tayub, who failed to appear before the committee on Friday last week due to short notice, appeared before the committee on Sunday in Salima where they were grilled for close to four hours.

Answering a question from the committee, Rashid Tayub said they did not use any due influence either in Zambia or Malawi to get a maize export permit from Zambia.

He confirmed that the company was formally interviewed by the appointed committee in Zambia and was granted the allocation following that session.

It was also understood that the modalities of the permit were only clarified after it had been issued as the process was rushed. He stated that the letter issued to Transglobe did not specify the conditions of the allocation.

“It was discovered later that we could not use this permit because it was for government to government contract and we did not have any contract with Admarc or even government to supply maize’’

“We did not even use this permit because it was issued irregularly – we are not registered with the revenue authority in Zambia. We only moved about 1,800 tonnes of maize from Zambia to Malawi under the Zambia Confederation Federation (ZCF) permit in December last year,” said Tayub.

“In fact we are yet to be paid for this supply of maize from ZCF,” added Tayub.

He explained to the committee that when they got a permit in October from the Zambian government, they sought clarification from Malawian and Zambian authorities on the modalities of the permit. After attempting to contact the technical people at the Ministry of Agriculture who were not available they then escalated the issue to the minister, George Chaponda.

He told the committee that after some time it was clear the export ban was not being lifted by the Zambian government, they decided to sell their maize at a loss to ZCF as late as December last year.

Transglobe director denied that at no time did he meet the Agriculture minister to discuss the maize procurement business, contradicting  Chaponda’s statement that he discussed the matter with Tayub.

The director also challenged the committee’s statement that Transglobe only transported 570. 3 metric tonnes of maize, arguing his company actually shipped 1 800 metric tonnes.

“We have all the necessary documents showing the quantity of maize that we transported. These were stamped at the Zambian boarder,” explained Tayub.

Tayub also denied that he was in Zambia negotiating for a permit at the same time when Chaponda was also in Zambia and rubbished allegations that Transglobe was introduced at a meeting which was held at State House in Lusaka.

A detailed account of his flight plan and timetable was also offered as proof since he was in Zambia for less than 24 hours. Tayub even went so far as to suggest that witnesses within the Ministry in Zambia should also be contacted to corroborate his version of events.

Another inquiry instituted by President Peter Mutharika has recommended that Chaponda be probed by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for his role in the procurement of the maize and that Admarc management should be disciplined for flouting procurement procedures.

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