AS POSTED BY UPP PRESIDENT, SAVIOUR CHISHIMBA (DR.)
Statement on partial details of the US$34.5 million maize scandal involving the PF government
A couple of days ago, I gave the MMD-run PF Government a 24 hour ultimatum to apologise to the nation and take action against officials who are corruptly behind the maize scandal under the pretext that the transaction is between the Government of the Republic of Zambia and Malawi when in fact not.
To the best of my knowledge, the government has not taken any corrective measures. To this effect, I feel duty bound to let the people of Zambia know about the whole transaction in the following chronological order:
Since 2015, a Zambian company called Kaloswe Commuter and Courier Ltd invested in the project to export maize to Malawi. After several trips to Malawi, Kaloswe found a local Malawian partner called ADMARC Ltd.
- On 31st May 2016, Kaloswe Commuter and Courier Ltd entered into a contract for the purchase of Zambian White Maize (Non-GMO) with the Zambia Co-operative Federation Ltd (ZCF). A Mr. James Emmanuel Chirwa in his capacity as Director General signed, under seal, for ZCF while a Mr. Isaac Kapambwe in his capacity as CEO signed, under seal, for Kaloswe. Under this agreement, ZCF agreed to reserve 100, 000 MT of maize at the selling price of US$215 per MT.
- On 17th June 2016, two agreements were executed. The first being between Kaloswe and ADMARC Ltd. Under this agreement, ADMARC was going to buy the maize from Kaloswe at US$345 per MT. All transportation of maize to Malawi and other logistical requirements were to be met by Kaloswe. This agreement was signed by a Mr. Foster C. Malumbe for ADMARC and a Mr. Isaac Kapambwe for Kaloswe. The second agreement was an addendum in which the parties mutually agreed that since ZCF was the ultimate source of maize it would be prudent to pay the whole amount of US$34.5 million into their (ZCF) account. ZCF would in turn deduct US$21.5 million due to it (ZCF) as duly agreed with Kaloswe on 31st May, 2016. The balance was going to be paid to Kaloswe whose legal duty it was to transport and handle all logistics in the whole transaction.
- On 22nd June, 2016 Kaloswe issued an instruction, in line with the agreement, to ADMARC to process and wire the US$34.5 million into the ZCF account number 0003203000439 at First Capital Bank.
- On 13th July 2016, PTA Bank wrote a letter of comfort to ZCF. In this letter referenced PTA/TF/ZCF/20160713, jointly signed by a Mr. E Ali and Mr. G. Mudange, PTA Bank was confirming with ZCF that the Reserve Bank of Malawi has approached PTA to support the transaction involving the importation of 100, 000 MT of white maize through a programme that the bank extended to the Republic of Malawi. PTA Bank further confirmed, in the same letter, that there was an existing arrangement between the Agricultural Development and Marketing Cooperation (ADMARC) and PTA Bank over maize importation financing.
UPP is concerned with the escalating business dealings between companies owned by the PF-MMD Ministers and senior civil servants who have become billionaires over the past few years
- On 6th September 2016, Mr. Malumbe of ADMARC wrote an email to Kaloswe in which he was categorically re-affirming that all logistical costs on the Zambian size would be met by Kaloswe as per the agreement. The same email was copied to the First Capital Bank.
- On 6th September 2016, ZCF wrote a letter to Kaloswe in which they were confirming that logistical payments are to be made to Kaloswe on need-based. This letter was signed by a Mr. Frank Munthali the ZCF director of finance. The director of finance was replying to the request by Kaloswe to be paid an advance of US$350, 000 for logistics. Apparently, ZCF indicated that the payment would be considered “…once the documents are finalised…”
These details are just 10% of the whole matter, but before I go deeper I once again challenge President Edgar Lungu to intervene and correct the wrong impression that the transaction was between the Government of Zambia and Malawi. This was a purely private sector driven transaction. The involvement of government at this stage is meant to loot public resources. It is an act of greed by the selfish public officers who have transformed government into a cash cow for fast-track wealth. Many deserving entrepreneurs in Zambia are failing to do business because of corruption. SMEs are already beginning to collapse and our economy is headed for a meltdown.
If government does not intervene or provide new information to the contrary, UPP will after seven (7) days from now expose more details and take legal action on behalf of the Zambian public that expects tax revenues to be paid for national development. The Zambian workers from public (defense, security and civil service) and private sectors continue to contribute more than 50% of income tax revenues to the state. This means that the taxes mining companies pay are far less than what workers pay and yet billions of dollars are made by the mines and they (funds) are repatriated out of Zambia every year.
UPP is concerned with the escalating business dealings between companies owned by the PF-MMD Ministers and senior civil servants who have become billionaires over the past few years.
This scandal is among the many that we are fully aware of including the offshore accounts that our “leaders” have opened over the past few years. The plunder of public resources which has gone on over the past 5 years of the PF in government is far more than all the previous regimes put together.
We call for a forensic audit at the Road Development Agency and the Ministry of Youth and Sport as the top priority.
The people of Zambia cannot be told to continue sacrificing when public funds that are meant for local development continue to leave the country through offshore accounts by public leaders and bogus investors.
The UPP-led Government will not only heavily invest in agriculture, but also reform the marketing of crops and livestock. We shall create the National Livestock and Crop Marketing Authority which shall be in charge of marketing locally and internationally. This way, our hard working farmers will have access to lucrative international markets as well.
God bless Zambia!