London based butchery Barkaat Food Limited which Malawi Government and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) officials used as conduit to loot over K30 billion (US$30 million) was set to be closed down in August this year.
Malawi Government admitted last week that it paid K750 million (US$727,000) to meat company Barkaat Food Limited for the procurement of 25,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer meant for the Affordable Inputs Program (AIP).
After getting the payment, Barkaat cancelled the deal saying it could not deliver the fertilizer. Government said in its statement last week that it expects the money to be paid back by the end of this month.
However, there are indications that some government officials led by a Malawi Congress Party operative connived with Barkaat to defraud government since the company was given a contract without a tender being advertised and without the Anti-Corruption Bureau vetting the process. It is also alleged that the amount lost is K30 billion.
There are also questions over the deal considering that Barkaat, which was given the US$727,000 by Malawi, has assets worth US$11,000 only and its business focusses on selling meat and dairy products.
In June this year, the Registrar of Companies in the United Kingdom issued a notice that Barkaat Food Limited was set to be struck off its register and dissolved not less than two months from June.
All the company’s property and rights would have been transferred to the Crown and the company would not have been able to pay back money to Malawi Government had the process been completed.
However, on June 30, 2022, the Registrar of Companies in the UK stopped the process to close down Barkaat Food Limited.
“Cause has been shown why the company should not be struck off the register and accordingly the Registrar is taking no further action,” reads the notice issued in June.
Meanwhile, Malawi Parliament has summoned the Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe over the K30 billion fertilizer scam.
Shadreck Namalomba, Chairperson for the Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts, said meetings of the committee to discuss the issue will start on 17 October.
Director of Public Prosecutions Steven Kayuni has also instructed the Police to institute criminal proceedings into the fertilizer deal.
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