The Board of Agriculture Research and Extensions Trust (ARET) has suspended the Chief Executive Officer, Andy Khumbanyiwa, Finance and Administration Manager Jonathan Mwakiyelo and Investments and Business Development Officer Wesley Mwamadi over allegations that they conspired and defrauded the public company MK156 million in dubious payments. This has shocked stakeholders because Aret has been struggling financially in recent years. Others have described Khumbanyiwa as heartless making Aret sink everyday.
Investigations show that Khumbanyiwa instructed the Internal Procurement Committee at Aret to stop Limbe Leaf from supplying Firewood for tobacco processing at Aret Mwimba Farm in Kasungu. Instead he asked a company known to him to supply firewood and conspired with Finance Manager, Jonathan Mwakiyelo to pay the company MK24 million. This raised eye brows to the internal procurement committee who found out that this Company never supplied enough firewood at Mwimba. Others wondered as to what type of firewood would amount to MK24 million.
Later the Board decided to check various payments made under instructions from Khumbanyiwa. They immediately discovered that there are 9 payment vouchers amounting to MK156 million showing that they are dubious and fraudulent payments. In those payments it shows Khumbanyiwa, Mwakiyelo and Mwamadi worked together to defraud the company including paying each other USD5,000.00 each in foreign travel allowance for the trip they never took. The revelations angered all board members who immediately ordered that Khumbanyiwa, Mwakilemo and Mwamadi should be suspended.
Khumbanyiwa is known for fraud and manipulation. In 2016 he manipulated the Board to have his two previous deputies Mr Gomonda, responsible for Research and Mr Nyangulu, responsible for Extension, get removed alleging Aret didn’t need two positions. Sources have disclosed that Khumbanyiwa looked at Gomonda and Nyangulu as stumbling block to his stealing habits. He immediately started feasting on the money after the two left including employing Mwamadi who is his personal friend.
Khumbanyiwa has no any background in Agriculture and people used to think that his was palm oiling the Board as Aret has been sinking everyday since the day he joined. All previous CEOs were Agriculture experts with PHDs and massive research and publications in Agriculture. Aret used to be a star performer in agriculture research and acquiring her own property including two storey building on Mchinji Road.
Meanwhile the Board has appointed Mr Ofesi as acting CEO pending outcome of the investigations and disciplinary hearing.