Saturday, April 13, 2024

Government recovers part of US$727,000 AIP duped funds ahead of full recovery

Attorney General, Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda.

Government has, yesterday, recovered part of the money which a meat-selling company duped the Ministry of Agriculture in a dubious fertilizer supply contract deal under Agriculture Inputs Programme (AIP).

Attorney General, Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda, who is currently in German leading a delegation that is traced the stolen money, has assured the country that “every penny will be recovered” as progress has started showing.

“My assurance to the nation is that the money will be fully recovered. So far, $182,000 has been already recovered. The remaining $543,000 is still frozen in Germany. Meanwhile, the necessary paperwork to have the remaining amount recovered has already been processed,” he said.

The UK-based company which entered the deal with Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund (SFFRF) under the Ministry of Agriculture, caused the government to send the money in bank accounts located in two different countries including Germany where the Attorney General has gone to engage the government to fast-track the recovery process.

Appearing before the Joint Parliamentary Committee in Lilongwe today, Board Chairperson for SFFRF, Marjorie Maluwa Phiri, disclosed that police in Germany have arrested one of the perpetrators and his assets seized pending investigations in connection to the saga.

President Lazarus Chakwera had assured the nation, during his address in which the Agriculture Minister was fired, that the stolen money will be recovered and tasked the Attorney General to do the necessary work.

Ministry of Agriculture, through SFFRM entered into contract with Barkaat Ltd, a purported middleman with a production line with Yara Limited for supply of 25,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer.

Barkaat Ltd, which is based in United Kingdom (UK) demanded an advance payment of US$727,000 to lock the price. When Malawi paid the money through Ecobank, Barkaat cancelled the contract saying it had lost the production line with Yara and could not commit to supply the fertilizer.

However, it eventually turned out that the purported middleman company is specialized in selling meat and runs a low-life butchery in the streets of UK. Further, it turned out that this fact was well-known by the government officials who were facilitating this deal, therefore turning out to be a money-looting syndicated which has been busted.





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