AN agricultural extension officer in Filabusi and two villagers have been dragged to court for allegedly abusing $4 030 worth of command agriculture inputs allocated to 71 farmers in Insiza, Matabeleland South.
BY SILAS NKALA
Mthokozisi Dladla (44), an extension worker with the Agriculture ministry, Joyce Mthunzi (64), a villager at Siyabalandela, and Morgan Bhebhe (49), the chairperson of Phelandaba North section at Silalabuhwa irrigation scheme, pleaded not guilty to theft when they appeared before Filabusi resident magistrate Mzingaye Moyo on Tuesday.
They were remanded out of custody to January 25 for continuation of trial.
Prosecutor Jethro Mada told the court that on November 29, 2016, Bhebhe signed for and received 18 200kg of Ammonium Nitrate fertiliser.
He together with Mthunzi took the fertiliser to Silalatshani, where they allegedly met Dladla and were to distribute the fertilisers to farmers under the Command Agriculture programme.
The fertilisers were meant for 71 farmers who had 26 hectares of land under maize crop and it was to be distributed at the rate of 450kg per hectare.
The three allegedly distributed the fertilisers and there was a surplus of 6 500kg, which they allegedly diverted to their personal use.
Police in the district received a tip-off that the three had allegedly misappropriated the inputs.
Investigations were conducted leading to the arrest of the trio and the value of the stolen inputs is $4 030.
Only inputs worth $31 were recovered.