….Suspects foul play
By Lifu Litete:
Minister of Finance Sosten Gwengwe says government intends to review the contract it signed with Salima Sugar Company seven years after the company rolled out its operations in the country.
Gwengwe’s remarks follows growing concerns that the government of Malawi is not benefiting enough from the contract it signed with the company through the Greenbelt Belt Authority between 2012 and 2013.
Speaking in parliament, Gwengwe noted that despite making huge investments into the company, government is getting little in return years after the company went into full operation.
“My Ministry is engaging the office of the Attorney General to review the contract which the previous administration entered with Salima Sugar Company as we feel that government is just making losses by investing in this company,” said Gwengwe.
Salima Sugar Company was established with an aim of up-scalling trade activities among local farmers while at the same time improving their welfare.
However, since its establishment the company has been no stranger to trouble as at one time Health minister Khumbize Chiponda Kandodo closed the company’s factory in Salima for failing to adhere to Covid-19 preventive measures.
In February last year, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition wrote the office of the Anti-Corruption Bureau Director General to investigate reports that some officials during the Democratic Progressive Party era connived with Salima Sugar Company officials to defraud the government of Malawi millions of kwacha through the procurement of a sugar mill as well as compensation of local inhabitants who were displaced by the sugar company.
Salima Sugar Co. Ltd. owns about 4,000 hectares of land and currently, 1,000 hectares of land is under cultivation.
The company’s main business is producing and selling sugar. It grows its own sugarcane as well as procures cane from small-scale sugar growers and uses it for producing sugar. Salima Sugar Co. Ltd. is a public limited company registered under Companies Act, Malawi.60% of its shares are held by the promoters (Aum Sugar Co. Ltd.) and 40% of its shares are held by Government of Malawi.