Pressure must have really been on his neck. Malawi President Peter Mutharika has finally appointed a Commission of Inquiry to the procurement of 100 000 metric tonnes of maize from Zambia involving funds up to K26 billion, Malawi24 can report.
Chief Secretary to government, Lloyd Muhara, President Mutharika established the Inquiry in accordance with the Inquiries Act Section 2 (1) and the Constitution in Section 89 (1) (g).
He says the appointments are with immediate effect.
Anastasia Msosa, a retired Chief Justice heads the commission.
The others appointed are Isaac Kayira the public auditor, Dr Janet Banda the solicitor general and Mike Chinoko as secretary of the Commission.
A statement from government which Malawi24 has seen read: ‘’ The commission will enquire on matters surrounding the procurement of maize by State-grain trader Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) from Zambia, Malawi’s western neighbour.’’
The commission has up until 31st January 2017 to submit a report to Mutharika on the matter.
Recently, leaked documents showed that Admarc used a private Zambian company that may be more expensive than if the deal were government-to-government.
Admarc insists that it is buying the staple grain from Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF), a government agency.
According to figures seen in documents, Admarc has r paid $34.5 million (about K26 billion) for the maize, which is $13 million (about K9.5 billion) more than the $21.5 million (about K15 billion) it could have paid had it bought the maize from Zambian Government.
Malawi government obtained a loan of K26 billion from the Eastern and Southern African Development Bank (PTA Bank) to purchase 100, 000 metric tonnes of maize from government of Zambia through ZCF.
This was the reason maize price was hiked from around K5000 to K12 500 per 50 kg bag to enable Admarc repay the loan.
The Mutharika led government has been under pressure to axe Admarc bosses and Agriculture Minister George Chaponda to pave way for a probe into the matter.