NACA threatens to drag govt to court over tractor-gate

The National Anti-Corruption Alliance (NACA) has issued a warning that it will drag to court all individuals involved in the purchase of farm equipment with archaic technology and the disposal of 177 Sonalika tractors.

The development follows a public apology issued by government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development which has acknowledged that there were maladministration and irregularities on the purchase of the farm equipment which costed government $50, 000, 000 loan from Export-Import Bank of India.

But NACA chairperson Moses Mkandawire said the public apology is not enough and that justice must prevail and all those perpetrators must be hold accountable.

“We cannot accept an apology, what we will be doing as an Alliance is basically to follow up on the process, is to look at the report itself, identifying people that were involved in managing the procurement of the farm input,” he said.

According to the statement released by the Agriculture Ministry, the entire process of procurement and subsequent disposal of the equipment was faulted as both illegal and irregular by the Office of the Ombudsman in the report entitled ‘The Present Toiling, The Future Overburdened’ of 13th October, 2016.

Mkandawire has however wondered how a written apology would facilitate in paying back $50, 000, 000 line of credit.

“Because honestly how do you get $50, 000, 000 as a credit and you mismanage that one and our children are going to pay all that amount of money and then you come in and say we are sorry for what happened, because sorry will not bring the money,” he said.

The farm equipment were purchased with an aim of facilitating mechanization of agriculture in the country for the One Village One Product (OVOP) with targeted access by small holder farmers.

In 2016, Ombudsman Martha Chizuma released investigation findings on complaint that her office received over the manner in which the Malawi Government sold some tractors and other farm machinery to public officers and some farmers.

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