Fertilizers scandal: Mangochi businessman arrested

Police in Malawi’s southern district of Mangochi have arrested one person in connection with a scandal in which 600 bags of subsidized fertilizers were found mixed with sand.

The suspect Chiyembekezo Akimu, who operates a hardware business at Mangochi market, is being suspected of using his vehicle to carry sand which was used to mix with fertilizers.

The arrest comes barely a day after donors asked Malawi government authorities to apprehend those found involved in the scandal.

Nyasa Times has learnt that Akimu has been suspected merely because he has a vehicle which he use for hire in carrying Dambo sand.

Fertiliser subsidy programme in Malawi riddled with corruption

“We suspected that this is a deliberate move to shield those who are directly involved in the scandal,” said a source.

Preliminary investigations into the issue implicated Simama Transport and manufactures Optichem who later confirmed that the sand was similar to the one they use during the production process.

Owner of Simama is reported to be well connected to the corridors of power.

Officials from Bvumbwe Research Station are yet to release the findings from the sample they took during the investigations.

Officer in charge for Mangochi Police Ephraim Chipojola has confirmed of the arrest but said Akimu has not been charged as investigations are still underway.

Donors angry

The Irish Government, one of Malawi’s key donors in the Farm Input Subsidy (Fisp) Programme, has described the recent scandal where fertiliser was found mixed with sand as ‘disturbing,’ reminding Malawi to avoid abuse and waste of taxpayers’ money.

Ireland has since asked the Malawi Police Service (MPS) and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to intensify monitoring process as a way of flushing out Fisp abuse, according to published report.

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