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Admarc fails to account for K65 billion

Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) officials were on Thursday sent back from Parliament and told to return for a scheduled meeting in camera after failing to account for close to K65 billion which Public Accounts Committee (Pac) queried.

Pac is examining audit queries from audit reports for the year ending June 30, 2014.

Controller of Agriculture Services in the Ministry, Grey Nyandule Phiri, and Admarc acting Chief Executive Officer, Margaret Roka Mauwa, said some of the decisions were Cabinet directives.

This forced Pac Chairperson, Alekeni Menyani, to order the suspension of the meeting, saying the ministry and Admarc officials had a bigger story to tell on the money and said they could do better if journalists were not available.

The Audit report indicated that Admarc received K2.7 billion from government for purchases of 15, 531 metric tonnes of maize and drew K39, 999,448 from the National Food Reserve Agency which, in total, would have realised K4, 442, 435, 840.

In response, Nyandule Phiri told the committee that Admarc and government signed a memorandum of understanding which helped Admarc to recover K1.3 billion and K516 million as selling overhead expenses from the 39.9 metric tonnes of maize and 15. 531 metric tonnes, respectively.

“Over 1,242 metric tonnes of maize worth K99.4 million were given to Dodma [Department of Disaster Management Affairs] upon instruction from government,” Nyandule Phiri said.

He also said Admarc recovered about K357 million and K345 million from the sale as purchasing expenses in relation to the 15, 531 metric tonnes at K23 per kilogramme and inter-region transportation of maize, respectively.

Nyandule Phiri and Roka Mauwa had problems in explaining how K1.8 billion from Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) beneficiaries was used.

Nyandule Phiri said, at the time of the audit in 2014, the only redeemed evidence available for Admarc collections was K1.2 billion, leaving a balance of K69, 192, 230 and also deposit slips worth K171.3 million collected by Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund of Malawi were not availed to the auditors.

However, he said the ministry managed to locate and retrieve receipts with respect to the balance of K69.1 billion for Admarc and deposit slips into the consolidated fund amounting to K171, 335, 500.

The audit queries also indicated that Admarc did not present K18.1 billion for audit inspection, payments without supporting documents worth K46.6 billion, among others.

However, committee members were not satisfied with the explanations from the ministry and Admarc officials.

Menyani said: “We are avoiding a public inquiry. This is why we want to engage you so that we get more. This committee, this Parliament, is also another arm of government; this is why we are interested in issues of public money.”

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