Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF), a government agency, has told Members of Parliament (MPs) in Malawi under the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Irrigation and Food Security who are investigating the procurement process of maize from Zambia, that State-produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) lied on contracts.
James Chirwa, executive director of ZCF testified before the Malawi parliamentary inquiry members in Lusaka on Wednesday that they have been following submission of Admarc boss Foster Mulumbe to the inquiry but noted that he has said lies one too many.
Committee co-chair Kamlepo Kalua is on record to have warned Mulumbe that he was under oath and would be dealt with accordingly if he gave false information to the inquiry.
Chirwa also gave credence to allegations of corruption element and misprocurement when he disclosed that Admarc is the one that proposed the $345 price tag for maize per metric tonne.
Mulumbe told the MPs however that: “The $215 per tonne cost was calculated as delivery from the northeast of Zambia while $345 per tonne was for Lilongwe delivery which Admarc opted for.”
Parliamentary Committee chairperson Joseph Chidanti-Malunga disclosed that ZCF has also disowned a tax invoice for clearing over 1,000 metric tonnes of the grain, saying it did not originate from ZCF and may have been forged.
Malunga said during the hearing with ZFC, they have found “a number of massive discrepancies”.
He said there were “fake documents” which were presented to Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA).
“Basically, forged and fake documents were used to pre-clear the 100,000 metric tonnes,” Malunga said.
He also said Malawi High Commission in Lusaka was sidelined in the procurement as officials from the mission said Admarc made its visits without its knowledge.
ZCF also denied claims by Admarc that 45 tonnes of maize said to have been rotten at Chilambula Depot was sent back to ZCF, saying they never received any maize that was rejected.
The maize purchase deal is currently marred with controversy regarding contractual issues involving Admarc which claimed it is buying the staple grain from ZCF but documents show that Admarc is actually using a private Zambian company, Kaloswe Commuter and Courier Limited as a broker of the maize deal.
The MPs will meet Kaloswe on Thursday and also hear from whistle blower Saviour Chishimba, a Zambian opposition leader.
Malawi obtained $40 million loan facility from PTA Bank for Admarc to buy maize.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :