A community in Mzimba has complained that an officer working for Agriculture Development Marketing Cooperation (Admarc) at Mbalachanda depot in Mzimba demands bribes for them to buy fertilizer.
The Admarc official has been identified as Charles Jere and residents say he demands additional money from beneficiaries of Farm inputs subsidy program (FISP) for him to assist them.
Alfred Msimuko who wanted to buy fertilizer and seeds at the depot on Sunday told our reporter that he was told to add K6,000 for every bag of fertilizer before he was assisted.
“He maintained that without doing so, he will not assist me. But because I knew it was illegal to buy through that way, I just came to report to you so that the man must be investigated,” said Msimuko.
Another beneficiary, Tambulani Zgambo echoed the sentiments saying the official demanded an additional K5,000 for him to buy fertilizer at the depot.
The official is said to be very corrupt such that most people who do not comply with his practices have not been assisted since the fertilizer arrived at the depot.
“He demanded additional money as well and after I told him that I will report him he said he doesn’t fear anything because he is a public servant who is assured of his job security,” said Zimba.
Malawi24 understands that the price for every bag of fertilizer under FISP is MK 3,500 but some Admarc officials double the price to satisfy their personal needs.
Reports our publication has been publishing tell similar stories such that recently the minister of agriculture responded to the reports by urging Malawians to help government in curbing the malpractice.
When our publication asked the Admarc official, he trashed the claims saying he has never demanded such money from the beneficiaries.
He further revealed that government stopped supplying the inputs at his depot last week thus the complainants were just saying such things with the aim of denting his image.
“We stopped selling fertilizer here the previous day that’s when the available ones were all sold without any corruption involved. I think they just have personal issues with me,” he said.
However, the complainants emphasized that government must consider investigating the official because they also saw him selling maize to vendors last week.
“He is just scared because he knows that his evil has been exposed. Let government intervene and investigate him, they will find the truth on the matter,” said a resident.
Before publishing this article, police were yet to comment on the matter.