Malawi fertilizer saga: 5,900 bags worth K75m stolen

Malawi Police in Blantyre have arrested two Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) ex-workers in connection to the theft of 295 tonnes (5,900 bags) of subsidized fertilizer amounting to K75, 060, 000.

The two, Tito Mtileni 23-years-old and Evance Kalopo 26, were arrested on Saturday (December 1, 2012) at Chichiri Shopping mall in Blantyre just days after the law enforcers apprehended three other people for diverting 3,202 bags of fertilizer which was later sold at Lizulu, Mozambique side.

Mtileni who hails from Kabwabwa village T/A Khombeza, Salima is currently on suspension while Kalopo of Miyalo village T/A Nkanda in Mulanje was fired from Admarc on November 30th this year.

According to Southern Region Police Public Relations Officer (PRO) Nicholas Gongwa, Mtileni and Kalopo were using Admarc’s T1 forms, which are Commodity Transfer Vouchers to steal the fertilizer from Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund (SHFFRF) depot in Chilimba industrial site, Blantyre.

Bags of fertilizers st

“We got a tip from a business man the two had contacted. With the help of Limbe Admarc auditor, we managed to arrest them and retrieved a T1 booklet from Kalopo’s residence in Bvumbwe following a search we conducted.

“The two are currently at Soche Police station. Investigations are still underway because it seems there are more people connected to the theft. Our inspection at SHFFRF Chilimba depot confirmed that 5,900 were stolen using the said T1 forms,” Gondwa said.

T1 forms-Commodity Transfer Vouchers- are documents Admarc depots issue in confirmation/acknowledging goods received/distributed to or from any supplier/transporter.

“When we visited the depot, we found a compiled report by an Admarc official working there in which he raised suspicions over the used T1 forms. He said the forms bear similar serial numbers, meaning they used a single form to obtain a large amount of fertilizer on several occasions, which raises suspicion”.

In a related development, three men are currently in police custody for stealing 3,202 bags of subsidized fertilizer from same Chilimba Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund depot which they were selling at Lizulu, Mozambique side.

One of the suspects, Khama Njobvuyalema a driver for Maziki Transport which was subcontracted by Kokoliko Transport to collect and deliver the fertilizer from the depot to some parts of Eastern and Southern regions of the country.

The three, according to Gondwa, diverted the commodity and was offloaded at Lizulu were it was being sold.

Government under Farm Inputs Subsidy Programme (FISP) distribute and sell fertilizer at reduced price of K500 to smallholder farmers across the country in a bid to end hunger at household and national level.

However, this year’s subsidy programme has been marred with several irregularities from the controversially reduction of beneficiaries in some districts, issuing of fake coupons, as well as the distribution of sand mixed fertilizers while some districts are not yet supplied with the coupons.

And in Mangochi and Mzimba there have been incidents of fertilizer being mixed with sand. Last week about 1,610 sand mixed fertilizer was found at Ebombeni Admarc depot in Mzimba. Last month 146 bags were also found containing sand at Katuli Admarc depot in Mangochi.

And police arrested Optchem boss and other people in connection to Mangochi incident.

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