The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) has been embroiled in a wrangle with Ananchuma Holdings Limited (ANHL) of Lilongwe over non-payment of about K40 million (US$98 280).
In November last year, ECM engaged the services of ANHL to supply and deliver 45 metric tonnes of certified CG7 groundnuts seed for the ECM-Usaid-funded Integrated Nutrition in Value Chain Project being implemented by Catholic Development Commission (Cadecom) in Dedza Diocese.
According to the contract agreement signed between ECM and ANHL on November 27, 2013 at the Catholic Secretariat in Lilongwe, the commodity was to be delivered within five days after the signing.
The contract agreement, which Weekend Nation has seen, reads in part: “The contractor will supply 45 metric tonnes of certified CG7 groundnuts seed to be delivered to Dedza Cadecom as per the distribution schedule submitted by ECM within five days after signing the contract. The seller will supply and deliver the seed to ECM at MK39 330 000 00 (inclusive transport).
“Partial payment (50 percent) shall be made upon successful delivery of the complete order within 30 days and the final payment shall be made upon obtaining acceptable seed germination results within 30 days.”
Group managing director for ANHL , Innocent Milanzi, alleged in an interview last week that in December last year, ECM started shifting dates on when the payment would be made.
Milanzi said ECM through Cadecom wrote ANHL to the effect that they (ECM) had received communication from Ian Goggin, Value Chain Competetiveness Specialist for USaid Malawi, who are the funders of the project, that ‘no further payment should be made to ANHL due to a number of questions that had been raised about the seed provided, especially on the germination rates.’
Reacting to this, Milanzi wrote ECM secretary general, Fr George Buleya, on February 5th and 28th where he reminded ECM about the payment and clarified factors that affect seed germination.
Our efforts to speak to Goggin proved futile, but in response to Milanzi’s communication, Buleya wrote Milanzi on 6th March assuring him that all dues would be settled by March 13th after a third party independent report on the same.
But this did not please Milanzi who is currently seeking legal redress on the matter.
“We fulfilled all contractual obligations by delivering the supplies and samples in time. I don’t understand why we are not being paid. We have been patient enough, losing a lot of business in the process and are left with no option but to seek legal assistance.”
In an interview, Buleya refused to commit himself on when the payment would be made.
“We are still sorting out issues and I cannot commit myself in saying when the payment would be made since the money comes from donors,” he said.