MALAWI – State produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) has been asked by the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to be accountable on the K4.4 billion (US$6m) proceeds it got from selling government maize
Admarc, embroiled in maize scam following questionable maize imports from Zambia, had K4 billion realised from the sale of SS530,448 tonnes of maize on behalf of Malawi government account to the Audit Report of 2013/14.
However, the money realised has not been banked.
The audit report also noted that Admarc used an amount equivalent to that of the maize proceeds without seeking authority from the Ministry of Finance.
Itr was also revealed that supporting documents or authorising documents were missing.
PAC chairperson Alekeni Menyani said Admarc must give information on “ particular account where the money was put.”
Menyani said his committee will “dig deeper” into the matter and even involve the graft-busting body, Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB).
Admarc acting CEO Margret Roka Mauwa told the committee that “ it is indeed true that Admarc failed to trace K4.4billion.”
She, however, said they will strike to trace the documentation.
Admarc is currently choked with a K37 billion (US$51 million) debt.
Roka-Mauwa attributed the situation to government’s failure to fulfil its obligations based on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Admarc and government.
Currently, Admarc operates 700 markets and nine major depots nationwide.
Out of the markets, 205 are classified as uneconomic.
Under the MoU arrangement, government is supposed to reimburse Admarc the cost of running the markets. However, this has not been happening to date.
Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet) national coordinator Pamela Kuwali said as a commercial entity, the expectation is that Admarc should be able to use its proceeds to cover costs.
“But it is important to note that Admarc is still a public entity whose mandate is to provide service to Malawians, intervene to ensure that prices offered to farmers are competitive and that maize is available at an affordable price for Malawians.
“The State is, therefore, responsible to ensure that Admarc functions and its operations continue. It must be noted that Admarc is only commercial in principle; in reality government owns 99 percent of its shares,” she said.