By James Martin
Seasoned lawyer and academic Alex Magaisa say the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and Parliament must summon Fert Seeds and Grain (FSG) Private Limited (Pvt) for interrogations over its alleged 2018 contract with Command Agriculture worth US$$400 million.
Although on Tuesday FSG denied having been awarded a contract by Command Agriculture to supply fertilisers and seeds, Magaisa said the company’s attempt to exempt itself from the millions saga raises more questions than answers.
“In trying to exonerate itself FSG says it has never been contracted by Command Agriculture. Then it makes a classic confession,” said Magaisa on Twitter.
He added: “What this means: There’s a confession by FSG that it supplied fertiliser to Command Agriculture albeit through a third party “private company” but it clumsily avoids naming this middleman which received the product en-route to Command Agriculture
“If FSG really wanted to lift the fog it would have named this middleman ‘private company. By not naming the middleman they have raised more suspicions over the deal.
“Who owns the private company? Did it go to tender for the Command Agriculture deal? How much was it paid?
“Parliament and @Zacconline must summon FSG to at least name the middleman and then summon that middleman to answer a few questions.
“Even if FSG were correct it doesn’t clear the possibility that the middleman was paid more money and only a fraction of it was paid to FSG.
“Parliament and @Zacconline must obtain all documentary evidence pertaining to the deals between the middleman “private company” and Command Agriculture and between the middleman ‘private company’ and FSG.”
In a letter dated 27 August 2019, FSG extensively denied being ever contracted by Command Agriculture to supply inputs instead said it had a deal with a private company it did not provide the name.
“FSG have never been contracted by Command Agriculture nor have we ever received funds from them.
“We have however been contracted by a private company from time to time and supplied them with fertiliser that was in turn delivered to Command Agriculture.
“We have delivered in full the fertilizers we were paid for by the private company,” reads part of the letter.
Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee on Monday heard that FSG is mainly a funeral services company and was paid US$400 million by the treasury to supply fertilisers and seeds without going to tender.