Malawi president Peter Mutharika on Wednesday issued a strong warning to some Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) officers who are allegedly selling maize to vendors instead of ordinary consumers.
In an address monitored on Malawi Broadcasting Corporation last evening, Mutharika said he has learnt with sadness that some officers in Admarc depots are conniving with vendors to sell and buy maize that the government heavily subsidised.
Mutharika, who described the officers and vendors involved in such malpractices as thieves, said he has instructed the police to track down such unscrupulous officers and vendors and, if found, they will be dealt with accordingly.
He said the government bought enough maize for Admarc depots to cover everyone who needs food and reported scarcity of maize in such depots is totally unacceptable.
“Most sadly, I have been told that there’s critical shortage of maize in almost all Admarc depots. I am further informed that some Admarc officials are conniving with some criminal maize vendors, who buy Admarc maize at night and sell it to poor Malawians elsewhere at very exorbitant prices…
“It is moral recklessness which I am not going to tolerate or allow it to continue. I must warn everyone strongly against such atrocities by criminal Admarc vendors have got to stop immediately. I have instructed the police to investigate it thoroughly and take vigorous action,” Mutharika warned.
He also said all concerned Malawians must reawaken their moral conscience and sincerely report people involved in that kind of theft happening in Admarc’s selling points.
Mutharika, however, repeated his position that no one would die of hunger, saying government has additional money to buy more maize.
“If you are morally outraged as I am, don’t government and police shall do for you. I want you to know that you can do and must do something… On your part, you know where these thieves are and where they hide or sell the stolen maize.
“You know the Admarc officials with whom they are conniving. I want you to report them to police immediately. The police will handle the information confidentially so that these culprits never know who turned them in,” Mutharika advised.
He said the process will help improve the availability of maize in all Admarc depots.
Mutharika said the police will continue monitoring the situation to ensure that the culprits are not given any chance of stealing more maize.
He then lamented that the shortage of maize in Admarc depots has created a situation where some Malawians are now forced to starve or buy maize at K15, 000 per 50 kilogramme bag.
Mutharika said government officials established that a number of Malawians, who will need food support, was about 2.8 million and from those determinations, his government bought enough maize for such people.
He then thanked the international community that is supporting the country with the specific mentioning of the World Food Programme.
A spot-check by The Daily Times a fortnight ago established that most Admarc depots did not have maize.
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