The Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) has accused Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) of providing false information to facilitate a quicker clearance on the Malawi-Zambia maize deal.
A team comprising three senior officials from the ODPP said this when they appeared before a joint committee of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development in Lilongwe yesterday.
ODPP deputy director of public procurement, Edward Jeke, told the members of Parliament (MPs) that they were not happy with the way Admarc handled the whole process. Said Jeke: “On our part there was nothing wrong that we did. But we were not happy because Admarc did not do an open tender. Doing procurement using less competitive methods of procurement, worse [still] single sourcing, is something that we are usually not happy with because you are dealing with one supplier who has a better negotiating position than yourselves.”
In a separate interview with The Nation after the meeting, Jeke indicated that the ODPP would have cancelled the whole procurement process had President Peter Mutharika not instituted a commission of inquiry. “Since this issue is in public domain and we have commissions probing it, we will just wait and see. But normally, if it was ourselves, as ODPP discovering that there was some problem in the procurement process, we [could have ordered the] cancellation of the contract.
“But this time around, we cannot do it because the issue is being probed and government has taken over by way of setting up a commission of inquiry,” he said.
The ODPP director Paul Taulo and Jeke also reiterated in earlier assertions during the meeting with the MPs that Admarc chief executive officer Foster Mulumbe had made phone calls to them asking for a letter of No Objection.
Mulumbe is on record denying making calls to the said officials on the matter.
The committee chairperson Joseph Chidanti Malunga said the MPs were impressed with the testimonies the ODPP gave to the committee. Malunga stated that the general picture from their meeting with ODPP was that Admarc lied in their presentations to the committee.
He said Admarc will be summoned again to present their side of the story on the matter. n