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Civil servants fined for fraud

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LUPANE — The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and Veterinary Services employees, who defrauded the GMB of three tonnes of fertiliser using fake farming input loan application forms and names, were on Friday fined $400 each.

The magistrate ordered that the fine be paid before end of September this year.

GMB clerk Patricia Ncube (33) and the Veterinary Services Department employee Muchaneta Makwarimba (29), both of Lupane Ministry of Transport Compound, earlier on blamed each other over the fraud, in their defence.

The two pleaded not guilty to fraud charges when they appeared before Lupane magistrate Takudzwa Gwazemba.

After the State successfully led evidence in court, Gwazemba ruled against the two and ordered them to pay the fine, failure which they would serve two months in jail.

Earlier on in her defence, Ncube told the court that Makwarimba came with lists of prospective applicants to her asking for assistance to process their papers.

But Makwarimba also shifted the blame to Ncube, whom she said had called her, seeking help to compile the list of applicants.

Makwarimba said when Ncube heard that police were investigating the alleged fraud, she destroyed the forms.

However, when Ncube was asked to cross examine Makwarimba she said she had no questions to ask.

Initially, the three were jointly charged with three others, Leticia Kandawasvika (29) and Wellington Chimande (29) and a Victoria Falls man Maxwell Phiri (36), who were acquitted due to lack of evidence.
The court heard that between January 6 and 13 this year, Ncube and Makwarimba allegedly connived to defraud GMB of fertiliser.

Makwarimba fabricated a list of farm inputs loan applicants and handed it over to Ncube.

Ncube released 72x50kg bags of fertilisers to one client, only identified as Phiri, who loaded it on a Bulawayo-bound truck that was transporting coal.

Police got wind of the scam and intercepted the truck, leading to the recovery of the fertiliser and Phiri’s arrest.

Phiri told police that he bought fertiliser from Ncube, leading to Ncube’s arrest.

Ncube then implicated Makwarimba as the one who crafted fake applicants’ names.

Sanders Sibanda prosecuted.

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