Malawi
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URGENT ACTION REQUIRED – EAST BRIDGE COMPANY FERTILIZER DEAL

The recent revelations making rounds in the media about the fertilizer deal involving East Bridge Company from Romania is shocking to say the least and there is a need for President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera to reign in and take decisive action on the matter.

Malawi, under Tonse Government has becoming a fertile playground for corruption and dubious deals especially to do with fertilizer and fuel importation. Just recently we were grappling with the K750million paid to Baarkat Foods Limited, a butchery based in United Kingdom to supply fertilizer.

As that matter is not concluded, there is yet another scandal where it is alleged that K5billion has been paid to local directors of a Romanian based company East Bridge whose credentials are questionable.

What is saddening and synonymous in all these shady deals, is government officials who goes at length to defend such deals while all common sense shows that the deals are suspect. We had the Minister of Agriculture canvassing from one media house to the other defending the East Bridge deal and telling

Malawians that the Government will not pay a single kwacha but batter produce, yet we are hearing that money has exchanged hands. If indeed the money has exchanged hands between the Government and East Bridge, it’s not only gross negligence but utter theft.

It is crucial for the President to address the nation and array the fears that Malawi has yet lost money due to dubious business deals linked to fertilizer. It is sad that the government has opted to remain silent when an allegations that K5billion has been lost to a Romanian company who some of local directors are said to be individuals who are answering theft charges.

The current level of negligence and theft in the government is eroding the trust that the public had in the government. It is important that prompt and proactive action be taken to help reassure the citizens that the matter is being rectified. It’s a pity that no single person has been held responsible for the

Forum for National Development Barkaat Food Limited deal and the same is happening with the East Bridge, which raises the question of the state’s culpability to these deals.

We therefore demand that the government must explain and expose the people behind the East Bridge deal. If the money as is alleged is gone, those that authorized the payment and were involved must be dealt with. There is a need to make full disclosure of the contracts between government and Barkaat

Foods Limited, East Bridge and any other suppliers of fertilizer. Transparency and clear communication are key to demonstrating the commitment to resolving this matter effectively. There is a need to share a comprehensive plan which deals with these thefts once and for all in order to ensure that citizens understand the steps being taken to rectify any issues arising from these deals. Meanwhile the public officials that have been aiding and abetting the theft of public resources must be held accountable and responsible including the Minister of Agriculture and the Attorney General who supposed to veto and provide legal advice on such deals.

In conclusion, we implore upon President Chakwera and the government to act swiftly and decisively to rectify the fertilizer deal involving East Bridge Company, Barkaat Foods Limited and other suppliers of fertilizer under Affordable Input Programme (AIP). Your true leadership and accountability will play a crucial role in restoring public trust in your administration.

 By conducting an independent investigation, providing a cost-based analysis, and outlining your plan, you can demonstrate your commitment to the citizens who entrusted you with their votes.

On our part as FND, we are committed to ensure that the public funds are used in the service of Malawians and we take an endeavor to do whatever is possible to ensure that the government is held accountable. Should the Government not feel the importance of reigning on the individuals involved,

and addressing the matters, we will be seeking legal redress to scrutinize all the contracts related to supply of fertilizers under AIP among other strategies.

Signed

Bright Kampaundi- Chairperson

Fryson Chodzi-National Coordinator