Newly appointed Admarc chief executive officer Dr Jerry Jana has stopped the purchase of K126 million (about $504 000) worth of executive vehicles because he thinks the company cannot afford such a luxury.
In an interview last week, Jana said Admarc board approved sometime back the purchase of three executive vehicles worth K25 million (about $100 000) each and three twin cabs worth K17 million (about $68 000) each.
The Admarc boss was reacting to an enquiry that the company, which posted a K2.4 billion (about $9.6 million) loss, was buying six vehicles worth K126 million at a time when the staffâ€™s demand for salary increment was rejected.
Sources in the company revealed that the internal procurement committee (IPC) had already approved the purchase of the vehicles despite the company having insufficient funds to sustain itself.
â€œMembers of staff are disgruntled because they asked for a salary increase looking at the high cost of living which has been accelerated by the devaluation of the kwacha, but management rejected,â€ said the source.
However, Jana said while it was true that Admarc started a process of buying new vehicles, once he took over office and looked at the proposal, he felt that it would not be in line with his vision of bringing back the State-owned grain marketer to its lost glory.
â€œThe figures you are quoting were approved by the board sometime back and I have looked at them and the whole proposal has been frozen,â€ said Jana who replaced Dr Charles Matabwa at the helm of Admarc.
However, Jana said to achieve his vision, he has approved the procurement of two twin cabs, one to be used by the marketing manager to source markets whereas the other one would be a pool vehicle.
Admarc board chairperson Ernest Malenga said in an interview if the purchase of the vehicles was approved by a board, then it was not the one he was currently chairing.
On the salary increments for staff, Malenga said nothing has come to the board to which the Admarc CEO agreed with him, adding that he will be taking the issue of pay hike to the board at a later stage.
In 2008, Matabwa courted controversy when Admarc bought him a K22 million top of the range Mercedes Benz which was withdrawn because the purchase was against the company policy on vehicles.