By SIMBARASHE SITHOLE
Lands deputy minister and Mbire Member of Parliament, Douglas Karoro, has been implicated in a presidential inputs scam after allegedly acquiring fertiliser from the government programme under the guise that it was meant for farmers in his constituency before selling it off.
This emerged at the Harare magistrates court when Mugove Glen Chidamba, a transporter hired to return some of the bags to Aspindale Depot after the discovery of the fraud, appeared in court yesterday.
According to the court papers, Karoro advised the Assistant Manager at GMB Mushumbi that he would collect 700 x 50kg bags of Compound D fertiliser for his constituency in February this year and supplied the manager with details of the trucks that would collect the fertiliser.
Jerry Phiri approached Widdorn Chiodza who paid USD10, 700 for the 700 bags and agreed the balance would be used to cover the transportation. Phiri reportedly took the money to the deputy minister.
On April 21, the court heard, Chiodza went to GMB Mushumbi and was issued a goods dispatch voucher in Karoro’s name and collected the fertiliser.
The accused then sold 200 bags to different customers in Harare and did not deliver the fertilizer to GMB Mushumbi.
When the GMB Aspindale manager learnt that the consignment had not reached GMB Mushumbi Depot he quizzed Karoro who then hatched a plan with Chidamba to conceal the fraud.
When Karoro learnt that the matter had been reported to the police, he tried to recover the fertiliser from Chiodza but only got 400 bags and sourced the outstanding 300 bags from the black market.
To cover up the offence, the accused returned 200 bags of Ammonium Nitrate, 132 x 50kg Super Fert, Calcium Ammonium Nitrate and 69 x 50kg Super Fert, Cotton Top Dressing Calcium Ammonium Nitrate misrepresenting that it was the same fertiliser they had collected from the same Depot on April 25, 2022.
The 300 bags were labelled Compound D Farm and City Fert so Karoro and the accused took the fertiliser to Aspindale Depot and tried to swap them with Ammonium Nitrate and the depot manager agreed after he was told they were from GMB Mushumbi.
After testing, however, it emerged the fertiliser was mixed with soil, prejudicing GMB of US$14,400.