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AIP inquiry to summon Colleen Zamba

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By Deogratias Mmana:

The joint Parliamentary Committee which was inquiring into the Affordable Inputs Programme implementation has disclosed that it will again summon Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) Colleen Zamba.

Reserve Bank of Malawi governor Wilson Banda is also on the list it will summon for questioning on the roles they played in the dubious K750 million fertiliser deal.

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Zamba was sent back after some members of the committee voted that she should not be interrogated before former SPC Zangazanga Chikhosi.

In an interview Friday, the committee’s chairperson Sameer Suleman said Zamba and others who failed to appear before the committee will be summoned again.

He added that the committee may be forced to subpoena them should they not cooperate.

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“The Speaker has advised us to continue with the hearings to meet them. Before this Parliament rises, we are expected to give a report,” Suleman said.

“In my view, it will not be worth a report without those key stakeholders. The problem with this process is that politics has crept in.

“But as a committee, we should not be told who to meet and not to meet. We will use parliamentary laws to subpoena them if they fail to come,” Suleman said.

Zamba told Malawi News early this month that she was ready to be interrogated and also indicated that she was ready to appear before the committee if she is summoned again.

In the deal that ended up with the government being fleeced K750 million, it emerged that two firms which the government engaged had a combined K90 million capital in their reserves at the time government contracted them to supply 25,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser under the AIP.

The two firms were Barkaat Foods Limited and Food Line Wholesale Limited.

Another set of details show that the Smallholder Farmers Fertiliser Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRFM) asked a local bank to make an advance payment on fertiliser imports worth $181,250 to Bova Investment Corporation.

“We submit the following invoice for payment: Invoice number 10285, invoice date 13-05-2022 Amount USD 181,250.00. Payment should be made to the following: Account Name Bova Investments Corporation…” the invoice is signed by SFFRFM chief executive officer Richard Chikunkhudzeni and chief accountant Watson Chirambo.

In another communication, SFFRFM is demanding back Euro 516,975.21 collateral it had paid to Barkaat Foods Limited.

SFFRFM is demanding the funds through Arthur Alick Msowoya Attorneys who wrote the local bank to get back the money from Barkaat Foods Limited, Munich, Germany account into its Cash Collateral Account.

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