Police have launched investigations against some State-produce trader Agricultural Development Marketing Corporation (Admarc) staff over their alleged involvement in the K330 million fraud at the company.
The investigations follow a letter dated September 29 2022 which Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Steve Kayuni wrote Inspector General of Police Merlyn Yolamu to start criminal proceedings against the suspected staff.
In an interview, National Police spokesperson Peter Kalaya said they are investigating the matter and that they are following up any criminal elements that came out of the recent Admarc audit report.
He, however, could not indicate the timeline of the investigations, saying that will depend on the situation on the ground.
Said Kalaya: “It’s true we received a letter from the DPP that we should commence investigations on the Admarc audit report. So we are working diligently to make sure that we finish the investigations as soon as possible.
“We are following all leads that appeared in that Admarc audit report to the effect that any criminal issue will be looked at; and people who committed a crime will face justice.”
The DPP letter addressed to Yolamu observes that the mismanagement of funds led to the institution’s underperformance in almost all its mandate portfolios and that it is an issue of breach of public trust.
Reads the letter: “Therein are issues that are of serious concern to the public, namely pilferage of the much-needed resources, insurance fraud, utter theft, abuse of office and fraudulent dealings in a corporate setting.”
According to the letter, the possible charges for the suspects would include and not limited to fraud other than false pretences, mis-procurement, abuse of office and insurance-related fraud.
Findings of an external audit show that Admarc has lost about K330 million to fraud and abuse masterminded by employees through bogus car insurance and medical cover claims as well as a dubious staff loan scheme.
On September 1 this year, Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe ordered the closure of Admarc and all staff on paid leave to pave the way for the redefining of the institution’s functions.
He said the institution’s shareholders concluded that the parastatal was underperfoming.
The 2021 Malawi Government Annual Economic Report shows that as at half year of the 2021/22 fiscal year, Admarc recorded a net loss-after-tax of K3.7 billion.
Until 1987, Admarc was the sole buyer of smallholder produce, but in 2004, it was incorporated as a limited liability company with government owning 99 percent of the shares.