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Foster Mulumbe fate delayed

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The fate of suspended Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) Foster Mulumbe will not be known until mid May as a special committee hearing the matter has asked for a three-week extension.

The Admarc board on April 3 announced its decision to suspend Mulumbe alongside Director of Operations Feckson Kantonga following recommendations by a commission of inquiry instituted by President Peter Mutharika and another by Parliament.

The special committee— which is being headed by board member Ken Ndanga—was scheduled to present its findings to the board by April 21, but in an interview on Monday, Admarc Board Chairperson James Masumbu disclosed that the committee communicated that it needs 20 more days to finish its job and it would be ready with its report by May 10 2017.

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“The committee has already met Mr Mulumbe and Mr Kantonga and charges will be filed this week. The committee has already met twice and they are two more meetings scheduled for this week and another one for next week. As a board we are satisfied with the progress and we are hopeful that by May 10 everything would have been finalised and the report ready,” Masumbu said.

When quizzed on what exactly has necessitated the extension and what other areas need to be covered by the committee, Ndanga refused to comment and referred The Daily Times to Masumbu

The special committee comprises three board members and a representative each from the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, the Department of Human Resource Management, the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation & Water Development and the Department of Statutory Corporations

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Senior managers at the state grain marketer were faulted for their dealings in the purchase of 100,000 metric tonnes of maize from Zambia worth K26 billion.

The procurement was deemed ‘fraudulent’ as procedures were flouted, according to the presidential commission of inquiry findings.

Officers from Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) in February raided Mulumbe and Kantonga’s homes and offices, among other offices of people linked to the Maizegate scandal where they confiscated files and other office equipment such as computers.

Mulumbe was sent on a forced leave in January but returned to work early March, but the development raised eyebrows in some quarters.

George Chaponda, who was also implicated by the commission of inquiry, was fired as Minister of Agriculture by Mutharika after pressure mounted on the head of state for allegedly shielding the former minister.

ACB officers found stashes of unexplained cash in Chaponda’s house in Lilongwe and the bureau’s spokesperson Egrita Ndala recently said the graft busting body is investigating as well as analysing the confiscated files.

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