The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and a joint parliamentary committee of Agriculture and Public Accounts, which is conducting inquires into the suspicious maize deal, have both indicated that opposition leader in Zambia Saviour Chishimba is one of the principal stakeholders to be interviewed in the ongoing investigations.
In separate interviews yesterday, Chairperson of Agriculture committee Joseph Chidanti Malunga and Deputy Director General of ACB Reyneck Matemba confirmed that the leader of United Progressive Party (UPP) in Zambia is appearing on the list of people to give evidence on what they know about the dubious deal.
However, Mike Chinoko who is Secretary for Commission of Inquiry instituted by President Peter Mutharika has refused to disclose whether his team has interviewed or intends to hear the evidence by the politician, saying such information is not for public consumption.
“No, we cannot tell you that information and even in our final report we will not indicate names of people who shared us any evidence because that would not be appropriate,” Chinoko said.
According to Malunga, a delegation from the joint committee is scheduled to travel to Zambia this weekend where, among others, it will interview a number of officials and some stakeholders including Chishimba.
Said Malunga,” We will first talk with our staff at the Embassy in Zambia, we are also expected to talk with officials of the two suppliers Kaloswe Commuter and Courier Ltd and Zambia Cooperative Federation. We are also hoping to listen to the leader of opposition and officials from Ministry of Agriculture there.”
Chidanti-Malunga added that the joint committee is expected to wind up its business today after meeting with beleaguered Minister of Agriculture, George Chaponda, who has been summoned to appear.
If all goes according to schedule, Chidanti-Malunga said the committee will have its report ready for submission by end of next week, adding that, so far, what is remaining is just to connect the dots.
On his part, Matemba said a team of ACB investigators has just returned from Zambia but could not be drawn to comment further and requested for a questionnaire.
In an earlier interview, Chishimba said he was ready to be summoned to appear before any commission of inquiry to provide what he described as a ‘missing link’ in the dubious deal.
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