Mon, 17 Oct 2016 13:03:23 +0000
A HIGHLY acrimonious meeting has failed to dislodge officials associated with the K34 million Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) fraud that has forced donors to suspend support to the institution. Concerned members have now called on the Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya to intervene to ensure that a new and untainted leadership is elected to facilitate thorough investigations of the corruption that might result in the collapse of ZNFU.
During a heated meeting that lasted the whole day last week, members of the corporate bodies wanted all those who were part of the board that presided over management involved in the syphoning of donor funds and brought the name of ZNFU into disrepute to be removed and had floated Nick Dean to take over but he declined, saying he was not ready to be part of the rotten system.
The concern was that a new chairman working with a tainted board would not change the situation. The intention is to usher in a proxy board at the elective congress slated for 27th October, 2016 after the corporate bodies elected Dave Gordon, last week as its chairperson.
“The move to have more compromised and corrupt individuals remain in the board against donors’ wish will again be put to test this Thursday when the Agri-business chamber meets to choose its chairperson,” the source said.
The cartel favours soft-spoken Ashok Oza, the current chairperson as the build-up to the congress continues. The source appealed to Government to rescue the institution from the financial malaise it had found itself in for the sake of the poor farmers, saying the stinking corruption at the institution would make it difficult for it to receive any funding from donors. The source said if not stopped, the conmen who were planning their perpetual stay at the helm would bring ZNFU down because their interest was to amass wealth using dubious means while disregarding the plight of poor small scale farmers. “You can see the level of corruption that is being propagated at ZNFU. They want to use everyone including government officials to sail to the top so that they can steal more while protecting their boss who is in court.
The Ministry of Agriculture should not fall prey to these thieves but must move in to stop the rot,” the sources said. He said last week’s meeting showed that the members had lost faith in the current board and did not want any of the officials who participated in the loot to be retained in the new board. “The members of the corporates are annoyed with the developments at ZNFU and that is why that meeting on Wednesday took the whole day because their argument was on why the board was insisting on retaining people who played a part in the reported theft at ZNFU.
They wanted Mr. Dean to be their chair but he declined, saying he did not want to be part of the rotten system and that is how Mr. Gordon was retained. “On Thursday this week, the Agri-business chamber will be meeting also to choose their chairperson and Mr. Oza, who is the current chairperson, has been tipped to continue so that during the elective congress on 27th October, it will be easy for Richard Lisimba to be elected president.
The source said from the time the Daily Nation exposed the sinister activities the cartel has held dark corner meetings.