Barely three days after police arrested a transporter for allegedly diverting the whole consignment of subsidized fertilizer he was entrusted to deliver in Thyolo district, a 23-year-old man is in police custody after being found with an unexplained 40 bags of the same.
The transporter Symon Kaunda is reported to have loaded 600 bags of NPK fertilizer which he was supposed to offload at Bvumbwe ADMARC Depot but instead he connived with four vendors, Clement Chokani, 30, Robert Bodole, 22 Adam Kulinji, 29 and 30-year-old Frank Nkolokosa, who had delivery forms for ADMARC which would dupe officials to believe that delivery was made.
Kaunda and his fellow tricksters signed the delivery forms before selling all the fertilizer at K3000 per bag at Kansuwa Village in TA Nanseta in the same district. Set price for a 50kg bag of the subsidized costs K500.
Police rushed to the village after being alerted by some well wishers where they arrested the five and recovered 295 bags and cash amounting to K730 000. The five swindlers had already sold 305 bags.
And on Sunday, police arrested 23-year-old Felix Msuko at Madisi Trading Centre in Dowa where he was operating business after he was found in custody of 40 bags of the subsidized fertilizer.
Police said they arrested the young trader after receiving a tip from the public and allegedly found Msuko with 25 bags of Urea and 15 for NPK of 50kgs each.
Msuko, according to police, has been charged with an offence of being found with property suspected to have been stolen. The suspect comes from Malumbo village, TA Kabudula in Lilongwe.
This year the farm inputs subsidy programme has met a lot of challenges, among others starting from a cut in quantity due to funds limitation to failure to timely distribute and deliver the commodities in time.
Meanwhile, published reports indicate that ADMARC depots in Nsanje district have completely run out of subsidized farm input supplies.
The development has created fears in the district as it is likely to negatively impact on the farmers’ production many people in the district depend on agriculture.