Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) is finally closing Malawi’s top foreign
exchange earner tobacco markets across the country as Chinkhoma has
finally received the last bales on Wednesday ahead of the closure of the
market on Friday.
TCC general manager Kaisi Msadala said Limbe Auction Floors will shut
down next week to be followed by Lilongwe Auction Floors a week after
and the Mzuzu Auction Floors.
“We are very satisfied in the manner the market has performed, there
had been no interruptions which means the tobacco growers were satisfied
with the prices,” he said.
However, the season was overshadowed with reports that some employees of
Alliance One were arrested for selling contract agreement certificates
to people who were not on contract with the company.
Company managing director Hugh Saunders confirmed the arrest of the
employees, saying they were selling the certificates at K10, 000 each.
“We were surprised that there were more tobacco volume than we expected
but the advantage is that we have an electronic ticketing system so when
the illegal tobacco came, the electronic ticketing system could not log
in, it rejected it,” he said.
He said the company has rejected 356 bales of tobacco so far, saying
they might have been smuggled in from outside the country.
Saunders however assured those with valid permits of the contracts that
their tobacco would be bought.
TCC general manager Msadala said this was a private issue between
Alliance One and its employees but said as a tobacco regulatory body it
would ensure that all those with valid tobacco contracts with the
company have their tobacco bought.