Malawi government opt for public apology, No arrests, restitution after irregular and misprocurement of $50 million India loan on farm equipment.

Ministry of agriculture apologize on misprocurement of farm equipment and irregular tractors disposal. “failed to pay particular technical attention to the technology of the equipment prior to its purchase”

Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development (MoAIWD) would like to sincerely apologise to the nation for the maladministration and related irregularities on the purchase of farm equipment with archaic technology, and the subsequent disposal of 177 Sonalika tractors which formed part of the consignment.

The farm equipment was purchased using part of the $50,000,000 line of credit from Export-Import Bank of India, with the aim of facilitating mechanisation of agriculture in Malawi.

From this loan, 177 Sonalika tractors and other farm equipment were purchased for the One Village One Product (OVOP), with targeted access by smallholder farmers.

Unfortunately the MoAIWD failed to pay particular technical attention to the technology of the equipment prior to its purchase, resulting into the purchase of equipment with archaic technology.

Having realised that it would be highly costly for the Government to maintain the equipment, especially the tractors, a resolution was made to dispose most of the equipment to private individuals and farmers at less their purchase price and on loan basis.

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 namely “The Present Toiling, The Future Overburdened” of 13th October, 2016. In her determination, the Ombudsman ordered the MoAIWD to apologise to the nation for acting contrary to the requirements of the laws and codes of conduct regarding procurement and disposal of the equipment.

The MoAIWD would like to admit to have failed to conduct a proper needs assessment in the beneficiary institutions to guide what equipment should be procured using the loan. We were at fault, and sincerely apologise for the irregular procurement and disposal of the equipment.

Going forward, we undertake to ensure Government compliance with, inter alia, laws governing Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets.

SECRETARY FOR AGRICULTURE, IRRIGATION 
AND WATER DEVELOPMENT

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