The Zambian government has distanced itself from the maize procurement scam arguing that Malawi bought maize from individual farmers and not from Zambia’s Food Reserve Agency.
The development comes at a time when Malawian officials including President Peter Mutharika have for several times disclosed that they purchased 100, 000 metric tonnes of maize from the country.
Speaking to members of the press last year in October after his arrival from United Nations General Assembly, Mutharika disclosed that minister of agriculture, irrigation and water development George Chaponda signed a deal to buy the staple grains with Zambian government.
Mutharika further assured the nation that “no one will starve” with hunger as the country has already begun receiving maize from Zambia.
However, minister for agriculture in Zambia Dora Siliya has brushed aside the claims by Malawian authorities saying her country only issued a permit of clearance.
Siliya added that her ministry should not be implicated in any corruption involving the maize deal between Zambia and Malawi.
“We allowed for the export to Malawi because the contract was signed before the ban on export was effected, the contract was signed in June 2016 under a government arrangement to help Malawi with the commodity following a drought that spared Zambia in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC),” Siliya told Lusaka Times.
Meanwhile, a report by the Consumer Association of Malawi (CAMA) on the maize scandal has also revealed that Malawi purchased the staple grains from individual farmers in Zambia.
The report further disclosed that the ministry of agriculture, irrigation and water development had a big role in the purchase of the maize contrary to what Chaponda earlier told the nation.
Chaponda is on record to have told the nation that his involvement was minimal in the purchase of the maize as some stakeholders called for his resignation.