By Rebecca Chimjeka
A tug of war has ensued between suspended Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) Rhino Chiphiko and the board’s chairperson Alexander Kusamba Dzonzi over the aborted plans to sell 100,000 metric tonnes of maize to Zimbabwe.
Chairperson of the Agriculture Committee of Parliament Sameer Suleiman has since called on President Lazarus Chakwera to intervene in the feud.
Following an announcement by the board of directors led by Dzonzi that it had suspended Chiphiko, details emerged that the board suspended Chiphiko because he refused that Admarc should sell maize outside the country following the board’s failure to follow proper procedures.
Suleiman told The Daily Times in an exclusive interview that the misunderstanding between Chiphiko and Dzonzi emanated from disagreements between the board and secretariat over a deal to sell 100,000 metric tonnes to Zimbabwe.
“I am aware of whatever is happening at Admarc. The issue is not only about the vehicle that Admarc purchased for the CEO. It is about the board wanting to sell 100,000 metric tonnes of maize to two Zimbabwean grain companies, which the CEO has been blocking. It is high time the president intervened to the situation.” Suleiman said.
He said he will be summoning the board and the secretariat in a few days to come.
Chiphiko also confirmed that he blocked the sale of 100,000 metric tonnes to Zimbabwe’.
“I can confirm that Admarc wants to sell 100,000 metric tonnes to Zimbabwe, but the procedures were not properly followed hence I declined to sign,” Chiphiko said.
Chiphiko said he was ready to face the parliamentary committee.
Dzonzi did not pick up our calls nor respond to written questions.
On Wednesday Admarc board said it suspended Chiphiko following an audit that was undertaken into the purchase of his official vehicle, a Nissan Patrol, worth K107 million.
Chiphiko said that his suspension was effective from May 20, 2022, and that he is expected to appear before the board of directors after 14 days.
Admarc’s board of directors recently stated that the purchase of the vehicle was an extravagance not in tandem with the company’s financial position.
Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency Executive Director Willy Kambwandira welcomed Chiphiko’s suspension.
“The purchase of a luxurious vehicle at Admarc was absurd and regrettable given the current economic situation in the country and the performance of Admarc. It is like we have people who are living in a different world. That was a mockery to Malawians and does not speak to the government’s recovery plan.
“We expect to see similar sanctions on controlling officers who are extravagantly spending public money at the expense of poor Malawians,” said Kambwandira
Admarc came under fire from Malawians over the procurement of the vehicle which comes as the corporation has been facing financial struggles, a situation that saw employees at the company protesting in February this year, over delays in January Salaries.