The four-member commission of inquiry instituted by President Peter Mutharika to probe matters surrounding the procurement of maize from Zambia is this afternoon scheduled to present its findings to the President.
Mutharika set up the commission on January 1 to probe the issue following alleged corrupt elements in the maize deal by the State produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc).
The commission was initially given one month to conclude its probe and report back its findings to the President for an appropriate action.
However, Mutharika granted the team a seven-day extension up to yesterday, February 9, upon request for more time to properly probe the issue and analyse the gathered information before presenting the findings.
In an interview yesterday, secretary of the commission Mike Chinoko said the team finalised its work and was scheduled to report to the President today at 4pm at the State House in Lilongwe.
While declining to divulge further details on their 40-day assignment, Chinoko said they tried to reach out to nearly every individual and institution as per the commission’s plan.
He said the commission’s chairperson, retired Chief Justice Anastazia Msosa, would be in a position to outline key issues when presenting her statement to the President.
“At this stage, we felt the information we have gathered is adequate. However, according to the terms of reference we are mandated to report our findings to the President then the State House will devise modalities of sharing the information with the public,” said Chinoko, the Law Commission’s deputy chief law reform officer.
Other members of the commission included the Solicitor General Janet Banda and public auditor Isaac Kayira.
Before the commission of inquiry was appointed, pressure mounted on Mutharika to suspend Chaponda and Admarc chief executive officer Foster Mulumbe to pave the way for investigations.
Besides the Mutharika-appointed commission, the matter is also being investigated by a joint parliamentary committee and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) which is working together with its Zambian counterpart.
Meanwhile, one of the country’s human rights activists Robert Mkwezalamba has asked Mutharika to make the findings public and where appropriate appoint an implementation team to follow up on the report’s recommendations and report back to him.
“This, notwithstanding his mandate as President where the recommendations require his office’s action, we expect him not to skirt around such recommendations but implement them accordingly. As civil society organisations, we will review the published report and make our own assessment and calls as the findings maybe,” said Mkwezalamba.