A report by joint parliamentary committees of public accounts and on agriculture has repeated that transporter Transglobe and minister of agriculture, irrigation and water development George Chaponda should be investigated further on their involvement in the procurement of maize from Zambia.
According to the report, the joint committee was not convinced on why Chaponda picked Transglobe to transport maize from Zambia using a fake export permit.
“The Committee found that the instructions of both Ministers of Agriculture in Malawi and Zambia were acted upon by the Permanent Secretary in Zambia’s Ministry of Agriculture who on 26 October, 2016 granted Transglobe a permit to export 50, 000 metric tonnes of maize from Zambia.
“The Committee duly considered Mr. Tayub’s (Transglobe top boss) evidence on this point. It noted that Mr. Tayub did not provide any convincing reason as to why only Transglobe had been given an export permit when in his own testimony, there were many other companies that wanted to export their maize to Malawi but could not because of the ban. Neither did Mr. Tayub offer any cogent explanation as to why the process of issuing his company with an export had, in his own words, been rushed.
“The Committee found it odd that the inter-agency committee in Zambia’s Ministry of Agriculture granted the export permit to a company that could not legally export maize from Zambia on account of not being a registered taxpayer in Zambia. The Committee noted that in his evidence, Mr. Tayub had testified that a member of the Zambia Revenue Authority had sat in the inter-agency committee meeting that interviewed him on 26 October, 2016.
“The Committee did not believe that if the inter-agency committee had been acting professionally and without any political pressure, it could have overlooked the fact that Transglobe was not a registered taxpayer in Zambia and thus ineligible to export maize,” reads art of the report.
A report by the commission of inquiry that President Peter Mutharika appointed chaired by Justice Anastasia Msosa also called on authorities to investigate Chaponda.
Meanwhile, Parliament will today debate the report before voting on whether to adopt it or not.