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ZAMBIAN MAIZE SAGA: Admarc boss sent on leave

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Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Board) on Friday resolved to send the corporation’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Foster Mulumbe, on forced leave to pave the way for investigations into the suspicious maize deal between Admarc and Zambian private company Kaloswe Courier Limited.

Admarc’s Board James Masumbu could not confirm as he said he was in a meeting and did not pick our calls several times when we called later.

But reliable information that we have is that the board met on Friday and it was agreed that Mulumbe be sent on leave.

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“After the meeting, it was agreed that the CEO [of Admarc] should go on leave as he is being investigated in the maize deal. The statement is going to be issued soon. But the resolution is that he should go on leave,” a well-placed source said.

After the revelations of the questionable procurement of maize from Zambia, civil society organisations, political parties and the public pressured President Peter Mutharika to suspend Mulumbe pending investigations.

President Peter Mutharika instituted a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the suspicious maize deal.

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The commission is led by retired chief justice Anastazia Msosa as Chairperson, and the other members are Solicitor General Janet Banda, Public Auditor Isaac Kayira and Mike Chinoko who is the commission’s Secretary.

However, after the appointment, there was still pressure from people who have been against the idea of having Mulumbe continuing working when he is under probe.

The import maize deal was been exposed by Times as documents show that Admarc used Kaloswe Courier Limited as middlemen to purchase maize which means Admarc purchased the grain at a higher price than it could have been had it bought directly from Zambian Cooperative Federation (ZCF).

The documents indicate that Admarc bought the maize from Kaloswe Ltd at $345 per metric tonne up from $215 per metric tonne that Kaloswe bought from ZCF.

In turn, Admarc paid Kaloswe $34.5 million for the whole consignment of 100, 000 metric tonnes which is equivalent to K25 billion up from the $21.5 million that Kaloswe Ltd paid ZCF which is equivalent to K15.5 billion. This means that government has lost close to K9.5 billion in the syndicate.

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