NFRA struggles to recover K112.5 million missing maize

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NFRA struggles to recover K112.5 million missing maize
NFRA struggles to recover K112.5 million missing maize

Africa-Press – Malawi. The National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) said yesterday that it is yet to recover 7,500 bags of maize valued at K112.5 million after 13 trucks that carried the maize from the northern region got missing while in transit. The maize was procured by Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc).

NFRA board chairperson Dennis Kalekeni told reporters at a press conference in Lilongwe that so far, the owner of Kachere Agriculture Trading, Smolet Kachere, who was contracted to transport the maize, has been arrested. Kalekeni said Kachere was arrested by the police on October 21, 2022 at NFRA.

“Following other arrests which included truck drivers and officers of the transporter, one truck fully loaded with 600 bags of maize has been recovered from Kasungu and the maize was offloaded at Kanengo silos under police watch on 2nd November 2022,” said Kalekeni who has been reappointed to the NFRA board.

In 2021-2022 financial year, government funded Admarc with K12 billion to procure strategic reserve maize on behalf of NFRA. Admarc reported that 65,675 metric tonnes had been procured. Part of the stock was drawn directly from the Admarc depots by the Department of Disaster Management Affairs, leaving a balance of about 37,120 metric tonnes which was supposed to be transported to NFRA.

And the government also funded NFRA to the tune of K697 million to transport the maize from Admarc markets to NFRA for storage. The missing of maize was detected on August 30, 2022 when a truck with a van under Kachere Agriculture Trading, registration number MN9814/ CA 680 loaded with 600 bags of maize from Kabwafu Admarc market, arrived at Kanengo to offload the maize.

According to Kalekeni, it is against NFRA’s regulations to offload maize from a van since it threatens the procedures of qualify verification. No sooner had the driver and an officer from Kachere Agriculture Trading been told to transship the maize from the van to an open truck than they vanished from the queue.

NFRA suspended Kachere Agriculture Trading after the transporter failed to avail himself to account for the missing truck. This prompted NFRA management to suspend the contractor and withhold his K64,368,623.27 unpaid invoices.

Kalekeni said the transporter was arrested after failing to bring maize within the period stipulated and that he was pleading that he be paid part of his withheld money and be allowed to proceed with the maize transportation so that the money equivalent to the missing maize be recovered from his payments. He said the board has intensified investigations to recover the missing maize.

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