Zimbabwe's Anti-Corruption Commission has deployed investigators to Grain Marketing Board depots in Masvingo province following the unearthing of massive looting of farming inputs by the loss-control department of the state enterprise.
Parliamentarians and government officials said the commission will hand over names of suspects including GMB officials and ZANU-PF party provincial officials to the police after completing its investigations within the next few days.
Commission officials were tight-lipped over the issue. But Deputy Agriculture Minister Seiso Moyo said police should arrest anyone linked to the theft of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and maize seed intended to go to struggling farmers earlier this year.
At least seven GMB officials, including Hwange depot manager Magugu Ndebele, were arrested recently in Matabeleland region following the looting of 30 tonnes of agricultural inputs and 81 tonnes of processed grain in Bulawayo and Binga, Matabeleland North.
Moyo said the government is worried about the high rate of corruption at GMB, which is linked to some officials of ZANU-PF, party of President Robert Mugabe.
“I hope everyone involved in this scam will be arrested because it has derailed most if not all of our agricultural targets this year,” Moyo said.
Development worker Liberty Bhebhe said the Anti-Corruption Commission should arrest any politicians linked to the abuse of the state-backed GMB farming input scheme.
GMB Acting Chief Executive Albert Mandizha, who appeared last week before the agriculture parliamentary committee which interrogated him over the abuse of the farming inputs and grain loan programs, did not rule out rampant corruption in the state entity largely controlled by ZANU-PF functionaries.
The GMB is among 10 loss-making state-controlled enterprises targeted for privatization by the cash-strapped Zimbabwean government.