In what can be described as a dramatic turn of events leaving smashed egg on the face of the opposition, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has confessed that it was chasing wind which was supposed to be left blowing.
PAC was scheduled to start meeting stakeholders as part of its aligned inquiry into Malawi’s fertilizer procurement deal with East Bridge.
PAC says it will not proceed with the inquiry as preliminary findings indicate that Government has not spent any public money in the deal.
Speaking after the Committee’s meeting, PAC Chairperson, Mark Botoman, who is an opposition DPP legislator in Parliament stated that the Committee held a two-hour in-house meeting in which they were scrutinizing all documents related to the contract.
He stated that “the Committee’s assessment of all documents has found that no public expenditure was made under the deal that Malawi entered with East Bridge hence no need to proceed with the inquiry”.
The Committee had lined up several Government officials including the Attorney General, officials from Government Contracting Unit, officials from Ministry of Agriculture as well as officials from the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority, for the inquiry proceedings.
The deal is such that Malawi is expected to exchange farm produce including 250,000 metric tons of Soya beans at $528 per metric ton translating into $132 million for the 250,000 metric tons’ cargo and about 250,000 metric tons of groundnuts at $725 per metric ton, yielding about $181,250,000.
The deal faced attacks from opposition agents categorizing it as a scam. Further allegations suggesting that the Government has made payments to the Romania-based firm were also made. The Finance Minister, Sosten Gwengwe disputed these claims, now being vindicated by the development from PAC.