K250bn Romanian debacle-Cancel or delay?

…all leaders out of the country 

Our frequent flyer tax-sponsored tourists now touring China and the United Kingdom could not clear their final decision regarding the illegal K250bn alleged Romanian fertiliser deal, as they gave conflicting information on the status of the deal.

The Investigator Magazine which broke the story also proved that Romania has no capacity to supply the alleged 600,000mt and on Friday night was told the deal was cancelled.

With the whole top government system outside the country, it remains unclear on the final position of the matter.

President Lazarus Chakwera, Minister of Finance Sosten Gwengwe and Minister Agriculture Sam Kawale are in China, while Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda is stuck in the UK for a month long junior lawyers training.Ministers on Friday night were not sure of the final decision by the Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda regarding the illegal Romanian fertiliser deal but said it had been recommended for cancellation.

“The deal was recommended to be cancelled. It is a bad deal as barter trade Malawi will loose out. Look at the value of crops one has to give for each 150,000 metric tons. It is insane,” our source in the Cabinet said.

Kawale and Gwengwe did not have details in China with Gwengwe stating he was yet to be communicated of any latest developments.

“It is cancelled,” another Minister in Malawi told The Investigator Magazine on Friday evening but could not say the exact date and conditions.

Chakaka Nyirenda has been absent from Malawi for close to a month attending a low level legal workshop in London and is expected in Malawi by July 4. The Workshop by the African Academy ended on Friday, 30th June.

Officials in his office said he was the one to make the final decision after it became apparent he had mislead the Ministry of Agriculture to proceed without a formal approval from the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) and the Anti Corruption Bureau.

According to Procurement laws all government contracts and financial commitments require approval of the two institutions which did not happen on a deal worth K250 billion rendering it illegal.

“The discussions have centred on whether to cancel or delay the contracts until due dilligence is done. The final decision was supposed to be made by the AG but he has been out of the country for the whole month,” said a justice official.

However OPC officials expressed suprise at the reports.

“This is fake. Looking at the resources and amount of time spent clarifying this deal. We doubt it will be cancelled,” said the official.

There is a lot of mystery sorrouding the ownership of the company after The Investigator Magazine proved that the company said to be Romanian was operating from a filling station address.

The company which has local presence also released names of three Directors namely directors, George Mantea, Catalin Sandu and Teddy Moya and hid others with controversial issues behind them.

The East Bridge Estates hyped up its media agents to claim it had already paid for fertiliser production but the Sovereign Gurantees and the contracts according to the earlier interviews with Finance officials would be only activated upon delivery in Malawi.

“There is nothing to deliver. The contract has not been performed. They cannot claim anything,” said another official.

The Investigator Magazine has been informed that the US$250 million guarantees would raise serious issues with the IMF mission expected to decide on the country’s Extended Credit Facility programme in October which could have contributed to its cancellation.