AN Agritex extension officer stationed in Zimunya, and three other accomplices were ordered to restitute $10 920 each to Grain Marketing Board as well as perform 280 hours of community service for stealing 31 bags of fertiliser meant for Pfumvudza beneficiaries.
The suspects, Pardon Muchingami (51), Innocent Tsenesa (40), Stephen Mutasa (40) and Phibeon Chadambuka (36) appeared before Mutare magistrate, Ms Prisca Manhibi recently facing theft charges as defined in Section 113 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23.
Public prosecutor, Ms Tafadzwa Chiwanza said the quartet was arrested following a tip-off from members of the public.
“On November 15, Muchingami who is an Agritex Extension officer for Gutaurare area under Chief Zimunya received a consignment of 200x50kgs bags of Compound D fertiliser from the Grain Marketing Board in Mutare to distribute to farmers in Gutaurare Villages A to O and Villages 10-15.
“The following day, the fertiliser was distributed to beneficiaries in Gutaurare by Muchingami.
‘‘About three days later, police received a tip-off from members of the public that security guards at GMB Gutaurare stole some fertiliser which were meant for Pfumvudza beneficiaries under the Presidential Input Scheme.”
A follow-up was made by the police, and they managed to recover 5x50kgs of fertiliser from Tsenesa, and 10x50kgs from Fungai Kuhudzai of Village Six, Chipendeke Resettlement.
The court heard that Kuhudzai was referred to Tsenesa to collect 16x50kgs Compound D fertiliser by Muchingami, and a payment of US$460 was made to Muchingami.
The matter was referred to CID Law and Order Manicaland for further management.
Detectives found out that Mutasa and Chadambuka were assigned to guard the fertiliser overnight before distribution.
During that night, Muchingami hatched a plan to steal the fertiliser and engaged the two guards to remove 31 bags from the consignment which they had received.
The two guards engaged the services of Tsenesa to ferry the 31 bags in an ox-drawn cart to his house for safekeeping.