By CHARLES MUSONDA and AARON CHIYANZO
THE maizegate scandal which has cost a Malawian minister a job is a complete hoax.
The man who generated the hoax UPP president Saviour Chishimba yesterday failed to name individuals who received any money in the botched transaction.
Malawi’s minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda has been suspended for his alleged participation in the purchase of maize from Zambia from a private company Kaloswe Couriers at an inflated price of K26 billion, reflecting an overpayment of K9.5 billion.
The Daily Nation has since confirmed that no maize has been transported to Malawi by Kaloswe.
The only maize exported to Malawi was through a government to government arrangement in which Agricultural Development and Marketing Cooperation (ADMARC) of Malawi bought maize from Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF) so far no money has changed hands.
has supplied ZCF with a letter of credit which will be honoured upon successful completion of the delivery, and so far only 5,000 of the 100,000 tonnes has been delivered.
Allegations that Malawi paid K26 billion to private company in Zambia are totally untrue.
But despite the hype the maizegate scandal has stirred in Malawi, the expose’ which preceded the hysteria has hit a hitch after United Progressive Party (UPP) president Saviour Chishimba the first whistle blower failed to substantiate his claims that money exchanged hands among officials from the Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF), Kaloswe Commuter and Courier Limited and the Malawi’s grain trader Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation.
Dr Chishimba yesterday failed to explain how money exchanged hands regarding individuals who might have released and received the money.
“There is US$13 million at play but I don’t want to jeopardise the investigations. It looks the price was inflated but I don’t want to pre-empty what the ACC (Anti-Corruption Commission) has started doing. They were having meetings and money exchanged hands among officials from institutions that have been mentioned,” said Dr Chishimba, the United Progressive Party leader.
Meanwhile, the Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC) has instituted investigations into the US$34.5 million Malawi ‘Maizegate’ export saga, ACC public relations manager Timothy Moono has said.
However, Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya said that the Zambian government did not have anything to do with the Malawi maize export deal and that its job only ended at issuing a permit for the transaction.
Ms Siliya said that Government was not responsible for the maize price that the Malawian government said was too high because farmers in Zambia were allowed to set their own prices for the
She wondered why people were dragging the Zambian government into a deal that it did not have direct control of.
Ms Siliya pointed out during a program on ZNBC that nowadays people were fond of abusing the word ‘corruption’, trying to refer to every transaction whether genuine or not as corrupt.
She explained that Government had only allowed the Malawian government to procure maize in the country through the Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF) because the country was in needy and that the deal with ZCF was signed before the maize export ban.
“The President of Malawi sent a delegation here to ask for permission for the maize transaction with ZCF which was signed before the ban to take place. And our role in this was just to issue a permit, so I wonder why we are now being accused of corruption” said Ms Siliya.
Ms Siliya said that law enforcement officers in Zambia would not have allowed ZCF to export maize to Malawi if Government had not issued a permit for the transaction to take place.
She said that it was not the Zambian government’s business that the Malawian government had found maize in Zambia to be very expensive because it was not
Government selling the maize.