THREE suspects linked to the abuse of government’s command agriculture inputs scheme were arraigned before the Harare Magistrates’ Court last Friday charged with fraud after they allegedly sold 33,6 metric tonnes of fertilisers and 30 litres of herbicides meant for 51 farmers in Makonde district, Mashonaland West province.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Tafirenyika Mariga (43), Hilda Mashamba (34) and Kumbirai Duku (36) appeared before magistrate, Rumbidzai Makwande, who remanded them in custody to today for bail application.
The complainants in the matter are a group of farmers represented by Christopher Manuwere.
The State alleges that on December 5 last year, the farmers were asked to travel to Harare to collect their inputs sourced under the command agriculture programme.
On December 9, Manuwere teamed up with two members of his group and went to Windmill Harare depot intending to collect their allocation valued at $16 800.
The State alleges the group had no transport, hence, they went around Windmill premises looking for a truck to hire. In the process, they were told to contact Mariga, whom they contacted and he agreed to transport the inputs to Shubhara Farm in Makonde and he charged them $650. He was allegedly paid a deposit of $400 on the understanding that the balance would be paid on delivery of the consignment.
The truck was allegedly loaded and Manuwere was issued with a delivery note indicating that the truck was being driven by Ridzai Dambakushanda. After loading the truck, Mariga allegedly connived with Mashamba to steal the fertiliser. Pursuant to their plan, Mariga phoned Manuwere advising him that it was no longer possible for them to travel in the truck.
Mariga allegedly ordered Manuwere and two others to go to Westgate roundabout, where he would pick them up in another vehicle, and they complied. The State alleges when Manuwere was travelling to Westgate roundabout, Mariga, Mashamba and the driver, Dambakushanda left Windmill with the loaded truck. Later, Mariga sent $14 to Christopher Mariga through EcoCash advising him to hire a taxi to the rendezvous.
Mariga and Mashamba allegedly gave the consignment to one Panganai Mariga, who is still at large, to sell it. Duku allegedly sold the fertiliser in Murehwa and the suspects shared the proceeds among themselves.
Manuwere became suspicious after he failed to locate the truck along Harare-Chirundu Road and reported the matter at Harare Central Police Station on December 10, leading the suspects’ arrest on January 4 this year.
Audrey Chogumaira appeared for the State.