Subsistence farmers from Chikombedzi have appeared at Chiredzi Magistrates’ Court facing charges of selling command agriculture inputs.
BY Garikai Mafirakureva
The accused – Esinati Chitamba (36), Emmanuel Gavi (36) and Johanna Rugure (36) – appeared separately before magistrate, Geradine Mutsoto, facing charges of selling agricultural inputs they had received from the government.
The court heard that at a date unknown to the State, but in January 2018, Rugure sold two bags of compound D fertiliser with a market value of $56 each for $30 each to one Chitamba, while Gavi also sold one bag of compound D for $20.
They were all found guilty on their own pleas and Chitamba and Rugure were either fined $50 or 30 days in prison, while Gavi was fined $30 or 20 days in prison. They were given up to February 9, 2018 to pay the fine, and all the impounded fertiliser will be forfeited by the State.
In passing the sentence, Mutsoto said the farmers were sabotaging the command agriculture programme.
“When the government started rolling out the programme, it was hoping the beneficiaries were going to put the inputs to good use. The programme was supposed to benefit you and the country at the same time, but you chose to divert the inputs from their intended aim.
“The court will not accept such kind of behaviour and will hand down a deterrent sentence. You were fortunate that you are first offenders.
Otherwise a custodial sentence would have been appropriate,” Mutsoto said.