Farmers lose donor funding

SWEDEN and Finland have suspended all funding to the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) during the time of investigations for allegedly engaging in malpractices in the handling of development funds.

Currently, the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) is investigating ZNFU on suspicions of malpractice in the handling of development funds.

Yesterday the embassy of Sweden in Lusaka released a statement stating that both Sweden and Finland had suspended funding to the ZNFU until investigations by DEC were concluded.

Sweden Embassy head of development cooperation, David Wiking, said cooperating partners had carried out a special audit of the ZNFU which revealed that there might have been possible mismanagement of funds in the latter part of 2015.

Mr Wiking said suspicions arose from the findings of an earlier audit as well as from an anonymous source.

“Based on the findings of the now concluded special audit, the cooperating partners have decided to continue reviewing the potential mismanagement by engaging an international audit firm.

“In addition, ZNFU is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Commission,” reads part of the statement.

Mr Wiking said at this stage, the cooperating partners were not in a position to comment whether mismanagement of funds had taken place or not.

He explained that in the past both Sweden and Finland gave core support to the ZNFU.

Mr Wiking said the purpose of the support was to reduce poverty among small scale farmers.

He said as funding agencies, they were obliged to ensure that development funds were used solely for eligible and intended purposes, and to investigate any suspicions to the contrary.

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