Zambia’s opposition political party United Progressive People (UPP) has applauded the findings of the Malawi’s presidential commission of inquiry on Zambia maize procurement saga which faulted Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, George Chaponda of suspicious corrupt practices.
The commission on Saturday presented its finding to President Peter Mutharika calling for Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to investigate Chaponda and a privately owned company Transglobe apart from noting that procedures were flouted, ministry of Justice officials were completely left out whilst Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) officials were reckless in the whole maize procurement process.
In statement issued on Sunday and signed by UPP president, Saviour Chishimba firstly exposed the maize saga, the party faulted Zambian government for playing part in the maize deal.
“We in the United Progressive People (UPP) are pleased to note that the Commission of Inquiry into the Zambia-Malawi maize exportation saga presented its report to His Excellency Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika, the President of Malawi yesterday (Saturday) and all that we said from the very beginning has turned out to be accurate,” reads the statement in part.
Chishimba said the commissions’ findings confirmed earlier reports of corruption between Malawi and Zambia governments’ officials.
He has since called for Zambian government and President Edgar Lungu to take action on the issue including investigating his minister, Dora Siliya.
“Our evidence and the report of the Commission show that our own government was directly involved in the illegal contract with Transglobe and the subsequent issuance of an export permit. The meetings between Hon. Chaponda and President Edgar C. Lungu were meant to seal all these corrupt dealings from the Zambian side. The broker Zambian company Zdenakie Commodities Ltd must also be investigated,” argued Chishimba.
“It takes two to tangle. The Minister of Agriculture in Malawi did only have direct dealings with President Edgar C. Lungu, but also with Hon. Dora Siliya the Minister of Agriculture. The report confirms what we have been saying that the new contract between ZCF and Transglobe was not only forged and backdated, but also fraudulent.
“We are fully aware of all the attempts to cover up the mess ever since we made the saga public, but it’s too late because we had gathered enough documentary and audio evidence on all the dealings before alerting the people of Zambia in 2016.”
The commission of inquiry led by retired Chief Justice Anastazia Msosa while confirming Nyasa Times’ earlier reports that money did not exchange hands in the maize deal, has found Chaponda and Transglobe of suspicious corrupt practices on the procurement of the maize from Zambia.
Meanwhile, Malawians have called on Mutharika to fire Chaponda despite his insistence that his right-hand man cleared of any wrong doing in the deal before he is legally cleared.
Mutharika has since reinstated Chaponda as Leader of Government Business in the National Assembly despite the corruption allegations and before Parliamentary committee makes its findings on the maize saga public.