Africa-Press – Malawi. Smolet Kachere who is accused of stealing 7,500 bags of maize from National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA), has claimed that big thieves have stolen more maize from Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc).
Kachere owns Kachere Agricultural Trading which was contracted to transport maize from Admarc to NFRA depots. Thirteen trucks carrying 7,500 bags of maize worth K112.5 million went missing and it is alleged that Kachere told his workers to sell the maize.
Kachere who is on bail following his arrest appeared before the joint parliamentary committee that is conducting an inquiry into the matter but he was not interviewed because the matter is in court.
However, Kachere, told journalists that there are big thieves who have stolen huge quantities and the allegations being made against him are aimed at covering up the theft of maize.
He added that the maize which is in reserves is much less than the figure provided by government officials. “They are claiming that they have about 38,000 metric tonnes [MT] in Admarc depots but I can assure you that there is less than that. The maize has been stolen.
“There are big thieves out there; that is why the publicity about this issue is heavily sponsored so that the issue is blown out of proportion,” Kachere said. A team of officials from Malawi Police Service, led by Inspector General Merlyne Yolamu, also appeared before the committee yesterday
Yolamu said Police investigations established that Kachere gave instructions to the firm’s operations manager Lucky Singini to sell the NFRA maize so that they were able to give money for fuel to transporters they sub-contracted.
Yolamu added that the maize was sold to foreign nationals in Chitipa and then taken outside the country. Apart from Kachere, Police also arrested Lucky Singini, Joseph Mhlanga, Lloyd Msiska, Yakobo Bando, Fumbani Nyirongo, Dominic Chunga and Wiyane Mkambala Studu over missing NFRA maize.