FDD spokesperson Antonio Mwanza says Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima’s decision to dismiss a petition to investigate Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya over the maize gate scum is suspicious and lacks merit.

In a statement today, Mwanza said contrary to assertions by the Chief Justice, there was questionable evidence pointing to Siliya’s involvement in the scam.

“Between 17 January, 2017 and 12 February, 2017, the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and The Public Accounts Committee (Malawi) on the Inquiry into the allegations of fraud in the procurement of maize from Zambia by the Government of Malawi, amounting to over 34 million dollars received evidence and submissions from witnesses in both Zambia and Malawi. The Committee found that in this wrongful endeavor, [former Malawi Agriculture Minister] Hon. Dr. George Chaponda was aided by Madam Dora Siliya, Zambia’s Minister of Agriculture who instructed her Permanent Secretary to issue Transglobe with a maize export permit for 50, 000 metric tonnes when Transglobe did not legally qualify for one, on account of not being a registered taxpayer in Zambia,” Mwanza stated.
He stated that it was therefore inconceivable that Chief Justice Mambilima could claim that there was lack of evidence to pursue the matter.

“With such evidence plus other details in the report, it is inconceivable that the Chief Justice could claim that there is lack of evidence to prosecute the matter. It is such suspicious decisions by our courts that have resulted in the public’s loss of confidence in our Judiciary. Justice must not only be done but it must be seen to be done. It is clear in our judicial system that the rich and connected seem to be untouchable for serious crimes they are committing while the poor and less influential are rotting in jail for petty crimes,” Mwanza stated.

He also hailed Malawian President Peter Mutharika for demonstrating leadership in the matter by occasioning the investigations and firing Dr Chaponda for his fraudulent involvement in the Maize Gate Scandal.

“Such decisive kind of leadership is what Africa requires in order for it to rid itself of corruption and theft of public resources. As for Madam Siliya she should know that mulandu suubola (a crime does not rot),” stated Mwanza.