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Cast net wide on Maizegate—Moses Kunkuyu

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The Transformation Alliance has demanded that the Commission of Inquiry instituted by President Peter Mutharika should broaden its scope, other than limiting investigations to the “possibility of money changing hands”.

Transformation Alliance National Chairperson, Moses Kunkuyu, warned in a statement released yesterday that focusing on money exchange would not yield positive results due to the craftiness of people who indulge in corrupt practices.

“The probe should not only centre on the possibility of money changing hands as it will be extremely difficult to pin point where money changed hands because corrupt minds are crafty and calculative. [We say this] Because all the talk is on people stealing money hence calling for their heads but we must be very mindful that people flouted laid down procedures deliberately to pave way for the stealing that we are probing today and that act of flouting procedures is equally grievous, devilish and punishable as it is a great deal of betrayal by the public officers involved in this scam,” reads the statement in part.

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Kunkuyu says the investigators should also zoom in on malpractices such as abuse of office. He observes that it is clear that some public officers interfered in the process of procuring the maize.

The former information minister cites factors such as single sourcing in the deal. He also points at the issue of breaching public trust by betraying the trust of citizens, the signing of two contracts in a single day with the same contract value and without conducting due diligence.

“The proceeding without a ‘no objection’ in place. The lying by the minister (on behalf of government) that the maize price was due to the fact that the maize was being imported using borrowed resources that attracted interest when the maize was actually bought locally and not using the said money from PTA Bank.

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“Exaggerating the required tonnage of maize which in turn is punishing Malawians with hefty interest charges payable to the bank and subjecting them to high maize prices when we did not need 100,000 metric tonnes. Only 4,000 metric tonnes were delivered and Admarc is currently recalling maize from depots because they can’t sell. If not deliberate, then this shows that there is gross incompetence on the part of those who conducted the needs assessment and recommended the 100,000 metric tonnes,” the statement points out.

Kunkuyu says defiance of court and parliamentary orders also points at wrong practices, adding that Malawians would be the victims since they would be subjected to “hefty interest charges on some quantity the country did not need”.

Transformation Alliance also accuses Mutharika of losing trust in the Anti-Corruption Bureau.

“The corruption in government institutions is a family affair now where it happens covered by a system that’s so colossal and so protective of those involved as a reward for their affiliation or participation in certain activities. Their cover up comes from the appointing authority as the authority feels in debited to those engaging in corruption.

“We wait to see how lousy President Peter Mutharika is going to be to allow these people go unpunished simply because they haven’t been proven to have pocketed something even when it is clear that procedures were flouted as per Cama’s [Consumers’ Association of Malawi] findings among others which is equally a serious offence and violation of office ethics,” the statement says.

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