Tuesday, April 16

ACB Probes Chiphiko Suspended Admarc General Manager

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) says it is investigating suspended Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) general manager Rhyno Chiphiko for alleged corruption in the handling of a K299 million rice deal.

In a letter dated September 23 2022, ACB director general Martha Chizuma asked Chiphiko to submit various documents to the bureau for investigation purposes.

Chiphiko: I am not aware
There quested documents include board meeting minutes for the 2020/21 and 2021/22 financial years and contract documents between Admarc and three companies.

Reads part of the letter: “Take notice that I require you [Chiphiko] to produce or furnish me within three working days of service of this notice on you with all the original documents or certified true copies of all documents as specified here under which are in your possession or under your control which the Anti-Corruption Bureau considers necessary for the conduct of an investigation into alleged or suspected offences under the Corrupt Practices Act.”

Chiphiko was also requested to submit documents under contract number RC 01/2021 that include advertisements calling for bids, bid submission lists, and a bid evaluation report.

Other document s demanded were correspondence between Admarc and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) and Internal Procurement and Disposal Committee (IPDC) minutes under the same contract number.

In an interview on Monday, former Admarc board chairperson Alexander Kusamba Dzonzi said he could not comment on the allegations since he is no longer serving on the board, referring the matter to the Ministry of Agriculture.

But in a written response, Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson, Gracian Lungu said the previous Admarc board told the ministry about the development after establishing that proceeds from the rice sale were not remitted to the institution.

He said: “ACB is working on that based on their way of doing the investigation. On who reported this to ACB is something that needs not to be discussed in public to avoid jeopardising the bureau’s tip-off anonymous system.”

But in a telephone interview, Chiphiko said he was not aware of the developments because he is still on suspension, as such, he cannot access any correspondence to him through the official Admarc address.

He further indicated that he did not appear before the ACB and that he is not aware of any investigations pertaining to the rice deal.

But sources within Admarc on Monday said the amount of the rice was 416 metric tonnes which was sold at K720 per kilogramme (kg) amounting to K299 520 000 million.

The sources claim that while Admarc’s selling system is strictly cash-based, the rice in question was sold on a credit basis, thereby flouting the payment system.

ACB principal public relations officer Egrita Ndala on Monday asked for a questionnaire when contacted on progress of the probe.

Chiphiko was suspended on May 20 2022 over the purchase of his official K107 million vehicle, a Nissan Patrol.

The purchase of the luxurious vehicle appalled the board which led to his subsequent suspension.

In recent years, Admarc has been struggling financially and has been surviving on debts from commercial banks.

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