Fertiliser deal fraudulent—AG

Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda has said preliminary findings from the botched K750 million fertiliser transaction show that the deal had all the hallmarks of fraud and will help Malawi build a strong case.

In an interview from Germany yesterday where he went to meet German prosecutors to help Malawi fully recover K750 million, he said it is all clear the United Kingdom (UK) firm, Barkaat Foods Limited, was bent on defrauding the Malawi Government.

Chakaka-Nyirenda: The money would be ultimately recovered in full

Nyirenda said the firm opened an account in Geramny in May 2022 where it deposited money in June 2022.

The Fidor Bank, he said, issued a suspicious t r a n s a c t i o n r e p o r t , compelling the Munich prosecutors to freeze the account

The AG said: “They are purely rogues. The physical address they have to the Malawian officials belonged to an accounting firm.

“The ground phone number they provided also belonged to a different entity. The directors were reachable only through WhatsApp.”

He said Yara, the UK fertiliser manufacturers whom Barkaat Food Ltd reportedly said it had production line with, could neither confirm nor deny being contacted by Barkaat Foods Ltd.

On how much Malawi is expected to spend on the German prosecutors, the AG said nothing will be paid to the German lawyers.

“They are government employees. They get paid by their government. When law enforcement authorities pursue a criminal case, they don’t get paid by the complainants or victims of the crime. Public law enforcement is publicly financed,” Nyirenda explained.

The AG said the Malawi High Commission in London, who were tasked with conducting due diligence on Barkaat Foods after payment had already been done, has been handy to make discoveries about the whole deal.

“My assurance and a promise to the nation remains that the money would be ultimately recovered in full. A formal communication shall be made once the process is completed and the full amount ultimately transferred to Malawi,” the AG said.

He said he is chasing $543 000 in Germany while another $181 250 deposited in a bank in New Jersey, United States of America, was reportedly already paid back to the Malawi Government through the Smallholder Farmers Fertiliser Revolving Fund of Malawi.

Malawi lost K750 million in the botched up Affordable Inputs Programme fertiliser deal which forced President Lazarus Chakwera to sack Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe and his deputy Madalitso Wirima on October 25.

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