Updated: Parliament summons Lowe, others over K30 billion fertilizer-gate, ACB interested

Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts (PCPA) has summoned agriculture minister Lobin Lowe and others involved in the K30 billion fertilizer purchase deal between the government of Malawi and Barkaat Foods Limited—a British butchery firm.

PCPA chairperson, Shadreck Namalomba, confirmed the invitation on Friday saying “those involved should face the law.”

Meanwhile, the country’s graft-busting body, Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), has also expressed keen interest to investigate a suspicious K30 billion fertilizer purchase deal between the government of Malawi and Barkaat Foods Limited—a British firm.

According to ACB’s senior spokeswoman, Egrita Ndala, the Bureau has “recorded a complaint” as regards the matter which is presently awash on various social media sites, especially Facebook and WhatsApp.

Minister of Agriculture, Lobin Lowe : Why me?

Said Ndala: “The Bureau has recorded a complaint. It will be reviewed as is the procedure to ascertain if there is merit to warrant the bureau’s action according to law.

“It [the Bureau] has interest in the issue of procurement of fertilizer.”

The Malawi government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, made an initial payment of K750 million to Barkaat Foods Limited (BFL) as a commitment fee for the supply of fertilizer under the Affordable Input Programme (AIP) believed to be worth K30 billion.

In a statement, signed by agriculture principal secretary, Sandram Maweru, the government concedes being “duped” of K750 million, and says it is seeking a refund.

According to Maweru, SFFRFM engaged Barkaat Foods Limited, which he said had a production line with a well-known supplier, Yara Limited.

PS Sandram Maweru: Ring leader

SFFRFM was asked to pay K750 million to lock the price, which it did. After pocketing the payment, the company terminated the contract.

“Barkaat Foods Limited failed to supply and consequently terminated the contract citing loss of production line at Yara UK and that they could no longer commit to supply the fertiliser,” the statement reads.

According to Maweru, the company agreed to transfer back to Malawi K750 million through the same Ecobank through which it was paid.

“This advance commitment fee payment of about K750 million is under recall by Ecobank and will be received by the end of this month of October 2022,” the statement reads.

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1 year ago

This fertilizer program is a total waste of resources. It has never been evaluated for it’s effectiveness.

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