Mulumbe cornered

LILONGWE (Tamanda Mwale, Malawi NewsNow) – Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc)  CEO Mr Foster Mulumbe appeared before the Malawi parliamentay inquiry on Wednesday and was cornered to extent of making  contradictory statements  and that Zambia’s private company Kaloswe duped them by lying that theybhad maize stocks.

Mulumbe’s five hour marathon appearance before the Agriculture Committee also characterised emotions and anger.

The Admrc CEO is at the centre of several inquiries alongside suspended Agriculture minister Dr  George Chaponda over suspicious procurement of maize from Zambia.

Mulumbe told the committee that all transactions were clean, strongly rejecting accusations there were under dealings in the whole procurement process.

He  told the suspicious MPs how Admarc terminated the maize contract with Kaloswe after discovering the company had no export licence, did not have a single grain as it projected and failed to name the source of its maize.

Mulumbe also tried to paint a picture that Chaponda’s involvement in the whole maize saga was at policy level, sayiong he went to Zambia to negotiate that the Zambia government lifts the maize exportation ban which was in place at that time.

He also said so far, Zambia has managed to bring into Malawi 4000 metric tonnes only out of the sourced 100000 metric tonnes and that the agreement to bring in the maize expired on December 31, 2016.

The Admarc CEO however said the country has enough maize having bought 106 metric tonnes locally. However the legislators were on perpetually on their feet, finding out why the government painted an alarming picture of hunger in the country, why the government decided to buy maize abroad in south America, Mexico, Brazil, Romania and Ukraine apart from Zambia when they could have sourced the grain lically.

Rumphi east MP Kamlepo Kalua told the inquiry that Mulumbe and Admarc director of operations had intimidated him.

At times, Mulumbe seemed to lose his anger when the legislators repeatedly asked him same questions which he had answered earlier

. At the end of it, Mulumbe and Chaponda seemed to have come out clean in under dealings of the maize procurement but Admarc flouted some procurement procedures.

Today, Thursday, ministry of Finance and Malawi Revenue Authority officials will be appearing before the parliamentary inquiry.

The legislators said they would call back Mulumbe anytime soon.