Source: Trio nabbed over 33t Command Agric inputs | The Herald January 9, 2017
Fungai Lupande: Court Reporter
Three suspected thieves who diverted a truckload of 33,6 tonnes of Command Agriculture fertiliser and herbicides meant to benefit 51 Mashonaland West farmers appeared in court last Friday.Tafirenyika Mariga (43), Hilda Masamba (34) and Kumbirai Duku (36) were charged with fraud when they appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Rumbidzai Mugwagwa.
They were remanded in custody to today for bail application. The court heard that last year, Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, initiated the Command Agriculture Programme.
The scheme is meant to boost food security in the country by providing farming inputs to targeted farmers. Prosecutor Ms Audrey Chogumaira told the court that the ministry recommended targeted farmers in Makonde district, Mashonaland West, to come together in order for them to access Command Agriculture inputs.
It is alleged that 51 farmers in that district formed themselves into a group, which they named Chimurenga. On December 5 last year, the group was instructed by Agritex Chinhoyi to collect 33,6 metric tonnes of Compound D fertiliser and Atrazin herbicides from Harare.
The court heard that four days later, Christopher Manuwere, Petros Mutenga and the group’s secretary, Christopher Tadzimirwa, went to Windmill in Harare to collect the farming inputs.
The fertiliser was worth $16 800. The trio sought a truck to hire and was referred to Mariga, who allegedly met Manuwere at Windmill and charged them $650 for the trip to Shubhara Farm in Makonde.
A deposit of $400 was paid, while the balance of $250 was supposed to be paid upon delivery. Manuwere was issued with a delivery note indicating the details of the driver.
In connivance with Masamba, Mariga contacted Manuwere and advised him to wait for them at Westgate roundabout along the Harare-Chirundu Highway where he would pick him up on their way to Makonde.
It is alleged that Mariga, Masamba and the truck driver left Windmill with the loaded truck. Mariga later sent $14 to Manuwere through EcoCash and ordered him to hire a taxi, while advising him that he had gone to Banket and the truck was on its way.
In the meantime, Mariga and his accomplices diverted the truck to Murehwa where the consignment was sold. They hired Panganai Maringa, who is on the run, to sell the consignment. Tadzimirwa waited for the truck along the Harare-Chirundu Road, but when it did not appear he proceeded to make a report to the police on December 10.
About $17 350 was lost and nothing was recovered. Duku was arrested last Wednesday and implicated his co-accused.