Transglobe Produce Export Limited yesterday contradicted Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda, on how the company got involved in the maize procurement transaction from Zambia.
Last week Chaponda told the joint parliamentary committee probing the saga that he had talks with the company after it sought his intervention to supply maize to government before referring it to the Zambian government.
But director of the locally registered company and farm produce trader, Rashid Tayub, yesterday told the joint parliamentary committee that his company was actually invited by the Zambia Government to supply 50 000 metric tonnes of maize to Malawi Government.
He denied that at no time did he meet the Agriculture minister to discuss the maize procurement business. This sharply contradicts Chaponda’s statement that he discussed the matter with Tayub.
The director also challenged the committee’s statement that Transglobe only transported 570. 3 metric tonnes of maize, arguing his company actually shipped 1 800 metric tonnes.
“We have all the necessary documents showing the quantity of maize that we transported. These were stamped at the Zambian boarder,” explained Tayub.
But the committee argued that information on the quantity was provided to it by the Zambian authorities at the border.
Tayub also admitted to have transported its maize into the country without proper documents as it used a Letter of Credit that belonged to Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF).
The development resulted in the Zambian Revenue Authority detaining the trucks at the border for using documents that belonged to another company to transport the maize.
The director further told the committee that at first he did not know who he was transporting the maize for as he was just told to do so by Zambian minister of agriculture and his principal secretary.
The committee grilled Tayub after he indicated that he only dealt with ZCF on December 9 2016 when in actual fact by October 26 2016 his company had already been in touch with the Zambian government about the payment mode of the said quantity of maize which was to be paid to them through the federation.
Transglobe was the last firm to appear before the committee, which sat in Salima, after its directors were subpoenaed, having initially snubbed the call last week.
Several institutions and individuals, including Chaponda, have appeared before the committee during the three-week inquiry to provide information they have about the procurement deal.
Meanwhile, chairperson of the committee Joseph Chidanti Malunga said his team is today expected to present the report to the Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya before it is made public.
“The Speaker will give us discretion on when we should present this to Malawians so we think probably by Tuesday everything should be concluded,” said Malunga.
Another commission of inquiry instituted by President Peter Mutharika to also probe the matter already presented its findings to the president on Saturday and faulted Chaponda’s dealings with Transglobe and recommended further investigations by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).