The board of State produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) has fired chief executive officer Foster Mulumbe and director of operations Feckson Kantonga, The Nation sources have revealed.
The sources said the Admarc board made the decision during its meeting at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe yesterday following a probe by the board’s special task force which probed the duo following recommendations of two commissions of inquiry—one hired by President Peter Mutharika and the other by Parliament—into the controversial Zambia maize imports.
But speaking to journalists soon after the meeting around 7.30pm yesterday, Admarc board chairperson James Masumbu refused to disclose the decision of the board, saying there were still a few things to be sorted before making an announcement.
He said: “I can confirm that we [Admarc board] met and discussed the recommendations of the disciplinary committee. We have agreed on our stand, as a board, but we will have to follow certain procedures first before we make the decision public.”
Admarc board member Ken Ndanga, who headed the disciplinary committee, was also non-committal on the determination, saying: “No comment. Speak to the board chairperson.”
But a source who also attended the meeting said the board resolved to fire the two senior managers: “We received the recommendations and agreed to dismiss the CEO.”
The meeting, which started at around 2pm and ended at around 7.30pm, was attended by, among others, officials from the Department of Statutory Corporations, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and Maseko Ngoni Paramount Chief Inkosi ya Makosi Gomani V.
On Tuesday this week, Masumbu told The Nation that the special disciplinary committee was to present its report to the appointments disciplinary committee of the board which was in turn expected to present a full report to the board during the meeting.
Two weeks ago, chairperson of a joint parliamentary committee Joseph Chidanti-Malunga and Isaac Kayira, who were part of a four- member commission of inquiry instituted by the President, were barred from presenting findings and recommendations during hearing of the special committee.
The Nation learnt that Kantonga protested that the two representatives should be part of the hearing.
The Admarc board on April 3 2017 suspended Mulumbe and Kantonga for allegedly flouting procurement procedures in the procurement of 100 000 metric tonnes of maize from neighbouring Zambia.
Mulumbe faced four charges, including 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.
He was also accused of failing to conduct due diligence before contracting the Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF) contrary to regulation 117 of the Public Procurement Regulations. The third charge was disregarding standing operating instructions relevant to appointment contrary to regulation 16(e) of Admarc conditions of service.
The embattled boss was 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.
A report presented to the President by an inquiry chaired by retired Chief Justice Anastasia Msosa faulted Admarc for flouting approval rules, systems, thereby causing discrepancies. n