While the country faces looming hunger, Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) had gone into a contract with a Zimbabwean company called Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe to supply maize to the tune of $22 million.
According to the contract, which was signed by Admarc Board Chairperson Alexander Kusamba Dzonzi and national chairperson for Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe Tafadzwa Musarara on May 20 2022, 100,000 metric tonnes (mt) of maize are expected to be delivered by July 31 2023.
The contract stipulates that the Zimbabwean company would collect 33,000mt of maize every month.
“This contract shall be terminated at the expiry of its duration subject to any agreement for removal or, earlier, by either party giving the other seven days written notice of intention to terminate,” the contract reads.
However, the deal was suspended when it was discovered that the board flouted contract procedures.
Chairperson for the Agriculture Committee of Parliament Sameer Suleman and suspended Admarc Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rhino Chiphiko confirmed the development.
Among the allegations was that the board chairperson was not supposed to sign the deal on behalf of Admarc, as the contract was supposed to be signed by an official from management.
However, Dzonzi said he was surprised by accusations that he decided to sell the maize without consulting management, saying Chiphiko participated in the signing of the contract.
“The CEO was there when the board chairmen of GMAZ and Admarc signed the contract. We want all our maize to be sold for us to service the loans [we have], pay salaries and create space for new maize,” Dzonzi said.
However, Suleman said the maize sale deal was irregular as procurement processes were not followed.
“That is why I am asking the President [Lazarus Chakwera] to intervene in Admarc issues,” he said.
Suleman said the government could not sell maize when food prices are going up and when fertiliser prices are rocketing, describing the movie as “very dangerous”.
Speaking at the press conference which President Lazarus Chakwera organised last evening, Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe said they had a meeting on the issue Tuesday, with another meeting scheduled for today.
He said the newly appointed Secretary to the President and Cabinet Colleen Zimba, Ministry of Finance and Admarc officials would be meeting to iron out issues on the matter.