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Fake maize seed dealer sentenced

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A 45-year-old man from Ascot in Gweru is in trouble after he conspired with an accomplice to paint ordinarily harvested maize and packaged it in 10kg pockets bearing the Seed Co SC 513 label before selling it to unsuspecting villagers as certified maize seed.

Bigie Sibanda had packaged 153 bags valued at $2 295, but was caught after selling only 61 bags.

He pleaded guilty to fraud charges when he appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Merlyn Mtshina on Friday.

Hewa convicted and sentenced him to nine months in jail wholly suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.

The magistrate also further sentenced him to 15 months jail, which she suspended on condition he performs 525 hours of community service at Mtapa Police Station in Gweru.

The court heard sometime this year on a date unknown to the State, Sibanda teamed up with a Bulawayo resident, who was not named, and bought 153 bags of maize that they painted with a green tint to make it look like certified maize seed.

They then packaged the maize into 10kg packets with the Seed Co SC 513 label.

It is the State case that between October 17 and 25 last year, Sibanda and his colleague sold 61 by 10kg pockets of the fake maize seeds to the villagers before the trick was discovered.

After the villagers discovered that the maize seed was not a purely graded type, they made a report to the police, leading to Sibanda’s arrest.

More than 300kg of the fake maize seed were recovered.

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