Malawi: ACB Says Chaponda Investigations Underway - Malawi Agriculture Minister Faces Corruption Rap
Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has said investigations over corruption suspicion against Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda were underway on 'Maizegate' scandal was underway.
The Presidential Commission into the investigation of the maize scam in a key report the commission presented to President Peter Mutharika at State House this morning. recommended that Chaponda be investigated for the conduct of engaging local firm Trans Globe into the Malawi's questionable procurement of maize from Zambia.
And a joint committee of Parliament report presented in the House on Wednesday also called for investigations into the conduct of Chaponda and his alleged interference in the maize procurement as well as suspected flouting of public service regulations.
Both ACB deputy director who is also its prosecuting lawyer Reyneck Matemba and spokesperson Egrita Ndala confirmed that Chaponda is under investigations.
ACB says it started a preliminary investigation in January and they are conducting a joint investigation with the Anti Corruption Commission of Zambia.
"We wish to confirm that the bureau is also investigating the Minister of Agriculture, Dr George Chaponda," Matemba said.
He said ACB has also been investigating a number of individuals and institutions for their roles played in the 'Maizegate'.
ACB spokesperson Ndala said the bureau takes very seriously all allegations of corruption and that it commenced investigations even before recommendations by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry.
She said the bureau is "reviewing" recommendations from the commission of inquiry.
"During the investigations, we will follow logical conclusions within the parameters of the law," she said.
The inquiry report indicated that the Malawi state grain trader Admarc, its management was "grossly negligent" in going into two contracts with Zambian supposed maize suppliers Kaloswe Commuter and Courier and Zambian Cooperative Federation (ZCF) and needs to face disciplinary action, particularly as Admarc showed "reckless and Inexcusable" conduct that amounts to fraud.
The report, however, said no one has pocketed money from the maize misprocurement scam, as the PTA Bank conditions were stiff and could have released the first tranche only after 10,000 metric tonnes of maize had been delivered to Malawi.
The Zambia suppliers were found wanting and only about 4,000 metric tonnes of maize have been delivered in Malawi - far short of the target.
By Wanga Gwede