BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-The country’s graft-busting body, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) plans to institute an investigation into a dubious fertilizer procurement deal involving the ministry of agriculture and a UK firm, Barkaat Foods Limited.
This follows the complaint that the bureau has received regarding the matter.
According to the bureau’s Principal Public Relations Officer Egrita Ndala,the ACB team will soon be set up to look into the matter and establish whether to proceed with legal processes.
” The Bureau has recorded a complaint. It will be reviewed as the procedure so as to ascertain if there is merit to warrant the bureau’s action according to law,” said Ndala.
On Friday October 14, 2022 Parliament also showed up by revealing its plans to summon agriculture minister Lobin Lowe and other officials to explain more on aforementioned issue.
It is alleged that Malawi government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, made an initial payment of MK750 million to Barkaat Foods Limited (BFL) as a commitment fee for the supply of fertilizer under the Affordable Input Programme (AIP) believed to be worth MK30 billion.
In a statement, signed by agriculture principal secretary, Sandram Maweru, the government concedes being “duped” of K750 million, and that it is seeking a refund.
According to Maweru, SFFRFM engaged Barkaat Foods Limited, which had a production line with a well-known supplier, Yara Limited.
SFFRFM was asked to pay MK750 million to lock the price, which it did. After pocketing the payment, the company terminated the contract.
“Barkaat Foods Limited failed to supply and consequently terminated the contract citing loss of production line at Yara UK and that they could no longer commit to supply the fertiliser,” the statement reads.
According to Maweru, the company agreed to transfer back to Malawi MK750 million through the same Ecobank through which it was paid.
“This advance commitment fee payment of about MK750 million is under recall by Ecobank and will be received by the end of this month of October 2022,” adds the statement.
Barkaat Foods Limited is registered in the UK as a slaughterhouse whose line of business involves wholesale trade of meat, dairy products as well as fruits and juices.