Court adjourns tractor-gate case ruling

The High Court in Lilongwe has adjourned to August 19 this year, its ruling on two principal secretaries who were found guilty of comtempt in relation to the imfamous tractor-gate scandal.

The High Court found Secretary to the Treasury Cliff Chiunda and Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Grey Nyandule Phiri guilty of court contempt in relation to the flawed procurement and disposal of farm equipment which costed government $50 million (about K137 billion) loan from Export-Import Bank of India.

Lawyer for the two senior government officials, Chancy Gondwe said he has filed an application to stop the sentencing in order to allow the two to be heard as they were not in the court the time the case was being heard hence applying for re-hearing of the case.

The two did not comply with the Supreme Court order which called for their apology in 21 days over the procurement and disposal of the said farm equipment.

Using a Parliament approved loan, government procured 177 tractors and 144 maize shellers in 2014, but the equipment was sold to politicians, civil servants and other private sector gurus though it was initially meant for smallholder farmers.

Recently, the National Anti-Corruption Alliance (NACA) issued a warning that it will drag to court all individuals involved in the purchase of farm equipment.

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