We in the United Progressive People (UPP) are pleased to note that the Commission of Inquiry into the Zambia-Malawi maize exportation saga presented its report to His Excellency Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika, the President of Malawi yesterday and all that we said from the very beginning has turned out to be accurate.
We are very sad to observe that President Edgar C. Lungu has embarrassed himself to the world by publicly lying to the people of Zambia on the deal. Upon his return from Ethiopia, our President told Zambians that he met with President Mutharika who reportedly briefed him that there was no corruption in the transaction.
UPP advised Zambians to treat President Edgar C. Lungu’s statement as state propaganda styled in the old Nazi Regime which appointed an expert liar, Joseph Goebbels, as Minister of Propaganda. He believed that a lie repeated three times would be accepted by the people as the truth.
We are afraid that this approach to politics and the handling of public affairs will not work for the MMD run PF Government predominantly because this generation lives in an information age in which everyone can access information easily. The NAZI regime of Adolf Hitler lived in an era of brick and mortar. The people of Zambia cannot be fooled by the smear campaign that the PF regime has mounted against the UPP leadership.
The report of the Commission of Inquiry, which was presented to President Arthur P. Mutharika yesterday confirms the following:
1. The role of Hon. Dr. George Chaponda the Minister of Agriculture Irrigation and Water Development went beyond his mandate by interfering with the procurement process (this is the man who met with our own president over the deal). The Minister influenced who should supply maize to ADMARC under the “ZCF contract” (page 15 and 16);
2. The Minister personally asked ADMARC to buy maize from Transglobe Ltd with maize stocks in Chipata (The PF Government flagged off the distribution of maize from Chipata to Malawi purporting it was a Government-to-Government deal). ADMARC refused to carry out the directives, but the Minister advised Transglobe to meet with officials in the Ministry of Agriculture to negotiate an export permit to supply part of the 100, 000 MT of maize that was agreed in the “contract” between ADMARC and ZCF page 16 and 17);
3. Transglobe directly dealt with Zambia’s Ministry of Agriculture through their agent Zdenakie Commodities. In a letter dated 26th October 2016, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture wrote a letter directly to the Managing Director of Transglobe Ltd in Malawi informing him that Government had agreed that 50, 000 MT of maize would be exported to Malawi in the name of Transglobe (page 17 and 18);
4. A letter confirming this arrangement was written by Transglobe to the Ministry of Agriculture on 12th December, 2016 (page 18);
5. Transglobe Ltd would be paid under the same Letter of Agreement which was in favour of ZCF (page 18);
6. When Hon. George Chaponda was in Zambia as special envoy, Mr. Tayub of Transglobe was also in the country meeting with officials in the Ministry of Agriculture. Two things happened during this period of meetings as follows:
(i) The export ban was lifted; and
(ii) The Ministry of Agriculture issued two export licences to both ZCF and Transglobe splitting the contract tonnage of 100, 000 MT in equal share of 50, 000 MT.
7. The addendum signed by ADMARC and Kaloswe brought ZCF into the tripartite agreement assigning proceeds under the agreement to ZCF and as such the letter of credit was established in favour of ZCF on 26th July 2016. (page 31) ;
8. ADMARC terminated the agreement with Kaloswe on 11th October, 2016. “The commission was not satisfied with the reasons given for terminating the Kaloswe contract”. The Commission found the conduct of ADMARC and ZCF in this regard in bad faith, most unprofessional and liable to expose ADMARC and ultimately the Government to a civil suit” (page 32);
9. The contract between ADMARC and ZCF is dated 17th June 2016 (the same date that Kalowe and ADMARC signed a contract). This agreement was signed after that Letter of Credit had already been issued in favour of ZCF. “The commission concluded that the contract (between ZCF and ADMARC) was backdated, a fact which was also confirmed by ZCF…the commission concludes that this contract can be challenged on account of fraud…” (page 32 and 33);
10. Following the lifting of the export ban by Zambia, ZCF entered into a contract with Transglobe to supply 50, 000 MT of maize to ADMARC on their behalf at a price of USD$337.50 per MT (page 35);
The Commission has made several recommendations including the action against the entire management of ADMARC, but the key one of particular interest to Zambia is thus, “The dealings between the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Dr. George Chaponda M.P., [and others] in this procurement process should be further investigated by the ACB (Anti-Corruption Bureau) as the manner in which Transglobe obtained an export permit from the Ministry of Agriculture of Zambia to supply maize to ADMARC raises suspicion”
Hon, Dora Siliya misled Zambians when she said that the Zambian Government’s role only ended at issuing permits. Our evidence and the report of the Commission show that our own government was directly involved in the illegal contract with Transglobe and the subsequent issuance of an export permit. The meetings between Hon. Chaponda and President Edgar C. Lungu were meant to seal all these corrupt dealings from the Zambian side. The broker Zambian company Zdenakie Commodities Ltd must also be investigated.
It takes two to tangle. The Minister of Agriculture in Malawi did only have direct dealings with President Edgar C. Lungu, but also with Hon. Dora Siliya the Minister of Agriculture.
The report confirms what we have been saying that the new contract between ZCF and Transglobe was not only forged and backdated, but also fraudulent. We are fully aware of all the attempts to cover up the mess ever since we made the saga public, but it’s too late because we had gathered enough documentary and audio evidence on all the dealings before alerting the people of Zambia in 2016.
As observed by the Commission that the lifting of the ban and the immediate execution of two new contracts as well as the issuance of permits to Transglobe and ZCF was questionable, we in the UPP believe that these were acts of abuses of office of authority. The report concludes, “this development cannot be attributed to coincidence”
The imposition of the ban was done when President Edgar C. Lungu and Her Honour the Vice President Ms. Inonge Wina were the only ones in Government at policy level. The ban was meant to facilitate the new deals which were birthed in corruption.
The report has clearly revealed that the Government of Malawi, through ADMARC, had categorically refused to give Transglobe a contract. Hon Chaponda who dealt directly with President Edgar C. Lungu advised Transglobe to deal with the Government of Republic of Zambia.
The key questions are: How could our government enter into a contract and issue a permit to Transglobe under the same Letter of Credit which was issued in favour of ZCF upon the letter of instruction of Kaloswe in line with the addendum which ushered into play the tripartite agreement from the very beginning?
UPP seriously urges President Edgar C. Lungu to take punitive actions against the Minister of Agriculture, officials in the ministry and ZCF and apologise to the people of Zambia for putting the whole nation into disrepute and grave embarrassment before the committee of nations.
President Edgar C. Lungu must also genuinely commit himself to the fight against corruption in his own administration, starting from State House through to all the ministries and public corporations.
Failure to take action in the next seven (7) days will leave UPP with no option, but to proceed to stage two of our action. Stage two involves petitioning the Chief Justice to set up the tribunal against all the ministers that have historically played a part in the maize saga.
Meanwhile, the President of UPP (undersigned) is proceeding with court action for libel against the following misguided entities that have over the past one month launched a scathing smear campaign which includes a lie that the UPP President is related to Mr. Isaac Kapambwe the director of Kaloswe:
1. Daily Nation Newspaper; and
2. Chilufya Tayali.
UPP has launched the #BringBackOurMoney! anti-corruption crusade aimed at recovering over US$5 billion in offshore accounts and investments of our former and current “leaders”. The people of Zambia are being subject to high taxes and other austere measures for the wrongs that were committed by the current regime. The PF regime is taxing Zambians to repay the loans which they contracted for plunder through projects that facilitated the loot.
The UPP leadership will not be intimidated by the Government through the scheme of using the ACC, ZP, DEC, ZRA and other wings through trumped up charges. We are fully aware of all the plots going.
We urge all Zambians to pray and fast as we fight the LORD’s battle who has heard the cries of the suffering of the masses at the hands of a corrupt regime.
God bless our nation!