Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) board of directors has called for a special meeting to deliberate the findings of the two commissions of inquiry into the purchase of maize from Zambia.
This follows recommendations to the board made by the two commissions—one instituted by President Peter Mutharika and the other by Parliament—to begin disciplinary proceedings against Admarc’s senior management.
Board chairperson James Masumbu said in an interview yesterday a full board would be meeting “soon” to come up with a decision following the damning reports’ recommendations.
He stated that it was essential for the board to deliberate the reports first instead of automatically effecting the recommendations of the commissions.
“We are calling for a full board meeting to consider the two reports and thereafter take the necessary steps. We have already spoken to Admarc management to try and sort out this meeting as soon as possible,” said the chairperson.
The report, issued by the commission of inquiry set up by Mutharika and headed by retired Chief Justice Anastasia Msosa, faulted Admarc management for not following government procurement procedures and fraudulently entering into contracts.
On the other hand, the joint parliamentary committee discovered that Admarc’s contract with Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF) was fraudulent as 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).
Further, 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.
Thus, both reports recommended disciplinary proceedings against some senior officials of the trouble-ridden State produce marketer.
Admarc chief executive officer Foster Mulumbe, who is currently on forced leave to pave the way for the probe, is named as the key person in the flouting of the procurement procedures.
Meanwhile, as the storm rages in the saga, Admarc has been dragged to the Zambian High Court by Kaloswe Commuter and Courier Limited, a privately owned Zambian company.
Admarc allegedly entered into a contract with the Zambian firm in June 2016 to supply maize before terminating it and signing a fresh one with ZCF.
Kaloswe has applied for a court order restraining ZCF from “spending, transferring, administering or dealing with” the funds paid into its account by PTA Bank in respect of the maize purchase and supply to Malawi.
According to an affidavit signed by Kaloswe’s chief executive officer Isaac Kapambwe, the disgruntled Zambian company has added Admarc in the case as a second defendant.
In an interview Masumbu said he was yet to see the court documents, but hinted that the process was not as simple as one could imagine.
“The matter is not as straight forward because Admarc is not resident in Zambia so they will have to do one or two things like applying for an application again to serve outside the jurisdiction, among others,” said Masumbu.