POLICE investigations into the alleged extortion charges levelled against Zanu PF Manicaland chairman Mike Madiro and other top provincial leaders deepened last week after the probe team intercepted other leads indicating the suspects’ involvement in the theft of farming inputs sourced under the Presidential Agricultural Inputs Scheme.
Report by Obey Manayiti
The probe was ordered by President Robert Mugabe himself, following reports that the provincial leaders had gone on an extortion spree, receiving an estimated $1 million mainly from diamond mining companies and cattle, ostensibly to be slaughtered at party functions.
Sources privy to the investigations told NewsDay last week that the suspects are alleged to have helped themselves to the inputs meant for distribution in the province.
Although the actual quantities involved could not be ascertained, the consignments allegedly comprised of beans, rice, wheat and maize seeds kept at Madiro’s Wilton Farm in Odzi and another batch at a shop in the same area.
“Police will look into the allegations of misappropriated Presidential inputs which were kept on his farm and one of his shops in Odzi and not distributed to the intended beneficiaries,” said the highly-placed source.
“The inputs were supposed to have been distributed sometime ago and we wonder why he was keeping them on his farm. Planting time is over and it remains a mystery when he intended to distribute the inputs. There could be some criminal element here and investigating officers are looking into that.”
Others said Madiro started distributing the inputs last week just before police launched the probe. On Wednesday, a Chipinge-based farmer, John Chirimambowa, told NewsDay that he kept a herd of cattle on behalf of Madiro that were meant for slaughter at last year’s 21st February Movement celebrations.
Contacted for comment over the investigations and the inputs saga, Manicaland provincial police spokesperson Inspector Enock Chishiri said he had not yet been briefed by the probe team which is being led by Chief Superintendent Crispen Makedenge.