No action on Mulumbe

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    • Enjoying full salary, vehicle

    Nearly seven weeks after the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) board recommended that the State produce trader’s embattled chief executive officer, Foster Mulumbe, should resign or be dismissed, government is yet to take action.

    His fate not decided: Mulumbe

    During its meeting at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe on May 17 this year, the Admarc board recommended the dismissal of Mulumbe and director of operations Feckson Kantonga after assessing the recommendations of a special disciplinary committee in relation to the Zambia maize imports saga.

    In the recommendations, the Admarc board said: “Mr Foster Mulumbe should be called upon to resign with effect from a specified date, and that if he fails to do so he shall be deemed to be dismissed from that date. The effectiveness of the date for his resignation or dismissal shall be determined by the board using its sole discretion.”

    The board report indicated that the disciplinary committee found both Mulumbe and Kantonga in breach of Section 16 (e) of the Admarc conditions of service in addition to breaching Section 30 (11) of the Public Procurement Act as well as government policy on external travel reference number CS/S/001 of 2015.

    Did not comment: Masi

    However, the committee failed to take action against the two employees because Admarc’s conditions of service—that were found to be outdated as they were last revised in April 1996—were not clear on misconducts and penalties.

    Reads the report: “In view of the above breaches, the committee reverted to Admarc’s conditions of services and employment contracts of the two employees to determine applicable disciplinary measures to be meted out to the two employees.”

    Mulumbe alongside former Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda are still subject of an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) over their involvement of the controversial $35 million procurement of maize from Zambia last year.

    This week, Admarc board chairperson James Masumbu said in an interview the board had no control over the benefits Mulumbe is still enjoying, saying Admarc was following the law.

    According to a government source, Mulumbe is on full pay and enjoying other benefits, including the official vehicle. The source said this was contrary to government policy.

    Admarc spokesperson Agnes Chikoko, in a written response to a questionnaire, refused to comment on the status of Mulumbe.

    She said: “We have no comment on this issue as it is being handled by the board of directors who issued the suspension letter. They are in a better position to comment on the condition of his suspension.”

    Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Aggrey Masi yesterday referred the matter to the Department of Statutory Corporations. However, officials at the department could not be reached for comment.

    Mulumbe and Kantonga were investigated following recommendations of two commissions of inquiry—one hired by President Peter Mutharika and the other by Parliament—into the controversial Zambia maize imports.

    A report presented by an inquiry chaired by retired Chief Justice Anastasia Msosa faulted Admarc for flouting approval rules and systems, thereby causing discrepancies.

    Original Article

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