Two officials from separate commissions of inquiry into the Zambia maize import deal have been barred from presenting findings and recommendations to a special task force of the board of the State produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc).
The Nation has learnt that suspended Admarc director of operations Feckson Kantonga protested against having chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture Joseph Chidanti-Malunga participating in the disciplinary hearing.
Chidanti-Malunga led the joint parliamentary committee that travelled to Zambia to probe the suspicious maize deal.
Our source said Isaac Kayira, who was part of a four-member probe team instituted by President Peter Mutharika, was also refused to make his presentation.
Said our source: “On Tuesday afternoon honourable Malunga made his presentation in the presence of [Foster] Mulumbe and it was agreed that Mulumbe would ask Malunga questions the next day, but this did not happen.
“Honourable Malunga and Mr Kayuni were also expected to make their presentations to the committee in the presence of Kantonga but he [Kantonga] refused. The committee discussed the matter and it was agreed that both Kayuni and honourable Malunga should not proceed with their presentations.”
The Admarc board on April 3 2017 suspended Kantonga and chief executive officer (CEO) Mulumbe for allegedly flouting procurement procedures in the procurement of 100 000 metric tonnes of maize from neighbouring Zambia.
In an interview yesterday, Malunga confirmed having attended the hearing, but could not be drawn to comment further.
He said: “Yes, it is true I was invited to attend the disciplinary hearing of the Admarc officials. The rest of the details you can ask the spokesperson of the committee.”
When asked for his comment, chairperson of the special committee Ken Ndanga, who is also member of Admarc board, could neither deny nor confirm the matter but referred the reporter to board chairperson James Masumbu.
Masumbu said he was yet to be briefed about what transpired on Wednesday.
According to a letter from the committee inviting Mulumbe to the hearing dated April 20 2017, Ref.No.DC/2 which we have seen, the suspended CEO is facing four charges of performing duties in an unsatisfactory and inefficient manner, or neglecting or omitting to perform the same contrary to regulation 16(b) of Admarc conditions of service.
Mulumbe is also being charged with failing to conduct due diligence before contracting with Zambia Cooperative Federation, (ZCF) contrary to regulation 117 of the Public Procurement regulations. The third charge is disregarding standing operating instructions relevant to appointment contrary to regulation 16(e) of Admarc conditions of service.
The CEO is also being charged of embarking on external travel without clearance from the board chairperson, contrary to prevailing government policy as contained in circular Ref. No. 15/01/1 of August 25 2015. n