Mweetwa demands explanation on maizegate scandal

Cornelius Mweetwa: file picture

UPND Choma Central Member of Parliament Cornelius Mweetwa says government should explain its position on the Zambia-Malawi maizegate scandal.

Speaking when he rose on a point of order in Parliament yesterday, Mweetwa wondered why Vice-President Inonge Wina not yet made a statement to clear speculation on the scandal.

“Authorities in Malawi have taken action against the people involved in what has been termed ‘the maizegate’ but the Government of Zambia and it’s administration has conveniently elected to remain silent leaving the media and indeed the citizens to continue to speculate on this transaction, whether indeed on our part it was questionable and dubious as the media are calling it or indeed on the part of us as Zambia there was no travesty,” Mweetwa said.

He said he could not ask agriculture minister Dora Siliya, whose Malawian counterpart Dr George Chaponda was fired on Wednesday, to respond to his question as she was also implicated in the scandal.

“It is in line of that sir, that I would like to find out whether the leader of government business is in order to remain quiet and not address this house and the nation to clear this matter especially that I cannot address the honourable Minister of Agriculture to be the one to respond given that she is conflicted as the report mentions her ministry,” said Mweetwa.

In his ruling, Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini directed Mweetwa to write some questions for oral answer for the executive.

“It is clear that your point of order is premised on press reports as well as the report that you have laid on the table of the House and in order to have a focused response to your inquiry, I direct that you formulate some questions which I would like you to forward to the executive to respond,” ruled Speaker Matibini.

According to a report by the committee which was tasked to investigate the importation of maize by the Malawi government from Zambia, Dr Chaponda was aided by Siliya, who instructed her permanent secretary Julius Shawa to issue Transglobe with a maize export permit for 50,000 metric tonnes of maize when the company did not qualify for it.

         

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