Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) acting General Manager (GM) Jerome Nkhoma has quit the corporation, citing an unfavourable working environment, we can reveal.
Admarc Board Chairperson Alexander Kusamba Dzonzi confirmed the development in an interview Thursday but said he could not give details since the board was not copied with Nkhoma’s letter.
“The letter was addressed to the Principal Secretary (PS) of the Agriculture Ministry; so, talk to him. But I have seen the letter, just that we were not in copy so I cannot comment,” Dzonzi said.
When contacted, PS for Agriculture Sandram Maweru said it is not true that Nkhoma has resigned from Admarc.
“Not being physically present in office does not mean one is not working. A person can work from anywhere,” he said.
We have it on authority, however, that Nkhoma served Maweru’s office with the letter on July 8 2022 and has since gone back to the Ministry of Agriculture, where he is director.
Without necessarily confirming the development, Nkhoma said, in an interview on Saturday, that the working environment has been hostile at the corporation’s headquarters in Blantyre, forcing him to remain in Lilongwe for much of the time since his secondment on May 26 2022.
“The board chairperson should be able to make a statement on what you are asking me or the PS. I am in Lilongwe and I have been here since I was chased from office and people were planning a vigil at my house. So, I thought something was seriously wrong with the company; as such, I am here, in Lilongwe,” Nkhoma said.
Asked about Nkhoma’s claims Dzonzi said there has been a plot among Admarc workers to frustrate senior management for a while and that the board has been working to ensure their safety.
“The workers’ union wants to be above the law because they do not want to be controlled and because someone tolerated such nuisance at some point,” Dzonzi said.
However, chairperson for the workers’ union John Hassan could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Nutrition has, through Chairperson for the Agriculture Committee of Parliament Sameer Suleman, said whatever is happening at Admarc is defeating the purpose of the institution.
“Admarc needs government’s intervention not just financially but also administratively,” Suleman said.
Nkhoma was seconded to Admarc to be acting GM from the Ministry of Agriculture on May 26 2022, following the suspension of Rhino Chiphiko on May 20 2022.
Chiphiko is being accused of authorising the purchase of his official vehicle, a Nissan Patrol valued at about K107 million, without the knowledge of the board, which is yet to summon him for a disciplinary hearing.