Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda has reiterated that he was not directly involved in the purchase of maize from Zambia.
The minister, who confirmed isuing the statement circulating on social media, dispelled what he called media frenzy on the so-called Maizegate linking the maize purchase to his name as a stakeholder in alleged underhand dealings for his personal interest.
In a press statement released yesterday, which he confirmed in a separate phone interview to have authored, Chaponda said his involvement was minimal as the main buyer of the maize was the Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) and not his ministry.
He said: “It was decided by government that I lead a delegation to Zambia to explore the possibility of purchasing at least 300 000 metric tonnes of maize.”
According to Chaponda on May 18 2016, he led a three-man delegation to Zambia where he met his counterpart and got an approval to buy at least 100 000 metric tonnes of maize.
Chaponda’s statement comes amid calls from civil society organisation (CSOs) for him and Admarc chief executive officer Foster Mulumbe to resign and pave the way for investigations into the issue.
Mulumbe has also denied wrongdoing in the matter. n