New twists in maize deal


Officials involved in the Maize deal between Malawi and Zambia had allegedly connived to deliver only a few tonnes of the mentioned 100,000 metric tonnes then furnish the nation with a bill for the entire tonnage of the grain, The Daily Times can reveal.

The plan, according to an impeccable source from Zambia, was for Admarc to purchase only a few tonnes because the purported traders Zambia Cooperative Federation did not have the capacity to deliver the staple grain in the first place.

Admittedly, Chief Executive Officer for Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) Foster Mulumbe told members of a parliamentary joint committee of Agriculture and Public Accounts which is probing the deal that both Kaloswe Commuter and Courier Ltd and ZCF, which were contracted to supply the maize, did not have the capacity raising questions as to why Admarc went ahead with the dubious deal.


“It’s very clear that ZCF could not manage to supply the 100,000 tonnes and so the question is why Admarc did sign such a contract when the supplier had no capacity? The plan was to move only few tonnes and pay for 100,000 tonnes.

ZCF is sourcing this maize from its members mostly from the eastern province which is closer to Malawi in order to reduce transport costs,” said the source.

The source further added that ZCF is facing hurdles to get the stock from cooperative members because the profit margin is very tight.


Said the source, “They are sourcing the maize in the region of above $250-$285 per metric tonne, and Lusaka to Chipata transport cost is $85 per metric tonne, while Chipata to Lilongwe it is at least $38 per metric tonne. ZCF is cash-strapped to afford cash payments to its suppliers of maize .Farmer cooperatives in the country are demanding cash before they hand over stock to ZCF for the Malawi deal.”

Recently when Secretary to the Treasury Ronald Mangani appeared before the joint committee, he accused Admarc officials of breaching their trust by going ahead to sign contracts with Zambian companies without the knowledge of Capital Hill.

There has also been inconsistencies in information provided by government officials who have appeared before the committee including those from Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and Office of Director of Public Procurement (ODPP).

Meanwhile, a delegation from the joint committee is expected to travel to Zambia to interview stakeholders involved in the deal.

Government borrowed K24 billion from PTA Bank for the purchase of the 100,000 metric tonnes of maize in the wake of hunger facing the country.

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