BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)–The Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) board, this week suspended the company’s chief executive officer Foster Mulumbe. This follows recommendations the board received from two commissions. While one instituted by President Peter Mutharika, the other was by Parliament.
The firing of the CEO is to enable authorized to begin disciplinary proceedings against ADMARC’s senior management for his complicity in the Zambia maize saga.
Mulumbe was implicated in the maizegate scandal, that he may have indulged in corruption together with fired Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development minister, George Chaponda.
Earlier this year, ADMARC board said Mulumbe will not be suspended from his duties as the government claimed to have information and weight of evidence that he had followed procedures with the Government of Zambia and its agencies in the controversial K26 billion procurement deal of maize now popularity known as ‘Maizegate’.
Confirming the suspension, ADMARC board chairperson James Masumbu said on Monday, the board resolved that Mulumbe should be suspended. He is awaiting an internal disciplinary hearing, instituted by board directors after an extraordinary meeting, which took place on Sunday in Blantyre.
According to Masumbu, Deputy Chief Executive of ADMARC, the board appointed Mrs. Magret Mauwa, to be the acting CEO for the State-run commodity trader.
The ADMARC board has also suspended Director of Operations (DO) Feckson Kantonga.
The report, issued by the commission of inquiry set by Mutharika, and headed by retired judge Supreme Court judge and former Chief Justice Anastasia Msosa, found ADMARC management at fault for not failing to follow government procurement procedures and also for allegedly entering into fraudulent contracts.
ADMARC reportedly bought maize at K26 billion from the Zambian company, and it is believed that Malawi could have saved about K9.5 billion if it had bought the grain directly from the Zambian government.
On the other hand, the joint parliamentary committee discovered that ADMARC’s contract with the Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF) was fraudulent because it was backdated to June 17, 2016, when it was signed after a month just to get approvals from Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP).
Furthermore, the committee found that ADMARC’s alleged fraudulent activities, extended to the internal procurement committee, which recorded that the chairperson was present when in fact he was in Zambia at the time.
Former agriculture minister, Chaponda is also believed to have played a big role in the deal, but there have been no investigations after his suspension to determine his complicity in the grain deal.