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ED fires Agric deputy minister

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BY KUDAKWASHE TAGWIREYI
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has fired Agriculture deputy minister, Douglas Karoro, who is facing charges of stealing maize and vegetable seed kits meant for distribution in his constituency under the Presidential Inputs Scheme.

In a statement, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda yesterday said Karoro was removed from office over acts of misconduct.

“His Excellency… Mnangagwa in terms of section 340 subsection 104 subsection (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe has with immediate effect, removed Honourable Douglas Karoro (MP) from office of deputy minister of government, for conduct inappropriate for a deputy minister,” the statement read.

Karoro was arrested recently on allegations of diverting 700 bags of fertiliser meant for distribution to villagers in his Mbire constituency.

He also grabbed 5 000 vegetable seed kits.

The MP was arrested as he tried to flee the country after it emerged that his co-accused had been arrested and dragged to court over the same charges.

Karoro, who is out of custody on $50 000 bail, will be back in court on June 14, 2022.

Other accused persons in the inputs theft scandal include Mugove Chidamba, the son of another Zanu PF MP for Mazowe Central, Sydney Chidamba and Lovejoy Ngowe, who is the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) Mushumbi depot manager.

According to the State, sometime in April this year, Karoro approached Jeremy Phiri, who is at large, and told him that he was looking for a buyer for 700 bags of fertiliser.

Phiri allegedly contacted Wisdom Chiodza, who expressed interest in buying the fertiliser at US$16 per bag.

It is alleged that on April 21, Chiodza paid Phiri US$10 700 towards the purchase of the fertiliser, which he forwarded to Karoro.

It is further alleged that on March 7, Ngowe received 30 050 tonnes of seed maize which was meant for Mbire constituency under the Presidential Inputs Programme.

Ngowe and Karoro allegedly connived to divert the consignment, prejudicing GMB of US$18 030 and nothing was recovered.

On March 23, Karoro received a total of 5 000 vegetable combo kits from Valley Seed Private Limited for handing over to GMB Mushumbi under the same programme.

Again, Karoro and Ngowe converted the seed to their own use.

As a result, GMB was prejudiced of US$25 000 and nothing was recovered.

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