Former chief executive officer of Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) Foster Mulumbe on Tuesday testified against former Minister of Agriculture George Chaponda who is answering corruption related charges in connection to the maizegate scandal.
Mulumbe who was the first state witness told the court that Chaponda on several occasions mentioned Transglobe as a potential supplier of maize to the state produce trade.
According to Mulumbe, Chaponda introduced Transglobe to him and at meetings the humanitarian response committee had, the former minister was focusing on Transglobe.
“He [Chaponda] said he did not see any point why we should be importing maize when there was a lot in the country already. After these meetings, Chaponda called me asking about Transglobe and I told him I don’t have an offer from them. In all our meetings, he [Chaponda] was only focusing on Transglobe,” Mulumbe said.
He however noted that Chaponda did not directly order him to buy maize from Transglobe Produce Export Limited but at some point Chaponda forwarded him an e-mail from Transglobe attached with a copy of an export licence
Mulumbe said the former minister also called him several times asking me if Mulumbe had anything from Transglobe and during meetings Chaponda mentioned a number of suppliers, of which Transglobe stood out.
State counsel Macmillan Chakhala told the local media that the state is expected to parade 22 witnesses some of whom are Members of Parliament.
Chaponda who was arrested in July is facing charges of corruptly performing public functions, misuse of public office, and possession of foreign currency, contrary to Section, 25A(1), 25B (1) of the Corrupt Practices Act, and Regulation 25A(1) of the Exchange Control Regulations, as read with Section 3 of the Exchange Control Act, respectively.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges. Transglobe Director Rashid Tayub also pleaded not guilty to the charge of influencing a public officer to misuse his office.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau arrested Chaponda, Tayub and another suspect Grace Mhango for their role in the botched purchase of 100,000 metric tonnes of maize from Zambia.