Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya has said that the Zambian government has nothing to do with the maize scandal being investigated by the Malawian government and that her ministry should not be implicated in any corruption involving the maize deal between Zambia and Malawi..
Ms Siliya said that the Malawian government did not buy the 100,000 metric tonnes of maize from the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) but from individual farmers.
Ms Siliya said the only role the Zambian government played was to issue a permit of clearance, while the Malawian government came and identified a private agent to procure the maize on its behalf.
“We allowed for the export to Malawi because the contract was signed before the ban on exports was effected.
“The contract was signed in June 2016 under a government-government arrangement to help Malawi with the commodity following a drought which only spared Zambia in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC),” she said.
She said no corruption was involved as alleged in some sections of society because Government was not at all involved in the procurement process.
She said after the Malawian government sought Zambia’s assistance, the Government provided them with a permit to import maize while the maize export ban was still in effect.
“The Malawian government identified an agent, the maize suppliers and also negotiated the terms without any input from the Government,” she said.
Ms Siliya was referring to reports in sections of the Zambian media alleging corruption against the Agriculture ministry in Malawi concerning the maize deal with Zambian farmers.
She said it was important to identify differences between genuine corruption concerns and rumour mongering.
Meanwhile, the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has said that investigations have been instituted into alleged corruption relating to the Zambia-Malawi maize deal.
At a Press briefing yesterday, the Commission said it had begun collaboration with the Malawi Anti-Corruption Bureau over the matter.