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Agriculture deputy minister gets $50 000 bail

Deputy Minister Douglas-Karoro

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AGRICULTURE deputy minister Douglas Karoro, who is accused of stealing presidential agricultural inputs, was yesterday granted $50 000 bail by Harare magistrate Stanford Mambanje.

Karoro is denying the charges.

Yesterday, he appeared in court together with his co-accused Jeremy Phiri and Dean Zimunya, who were also granted $50 000 bail each.

They were all remanded to June 14.

The trio was represented by Admire Rubaya.

According to the State, sometime in April this year, Karoro approached Phiri asking him to look for a buyer for 700 bags of fertilizer.

Phiri allegedly contacted Wisdom Chiodza, who expressed interest in buying the fertilizer at US$16 per bag.

It is further alleged that on April 21, Chiodza paid Phiri US$10 700 towards the purchase of the fertilizer, which he then forwarded to Karoro.

The deputy minister then informed Phiri that the fertilizer was at the Grain Marketing Board Mushumbi depot and on April 22, Chiodza collected the fertilizer from the depot.

However, on April 23, Chiodza was told by Karoro’s accomplices to return the fertilizer because the deal had gone sour, but he refused.

He, however, decided to release 400 bags the following day, and was refunded US$6 400.

It is further alleged that on March 7, GMB Mushumbi depot manager Lovejoy Ngowe received 30 050 tonnes of seed maize which was meant for Mbire constituency under the Presidential Inputs programme.

Ngowe and Karoro allegedly connived to divert the consignment, prejudicing GMB of US$18 030 and nothing was recovered.

On March 23, Karoro also received 5 000 vegetable combo kits from Valley Seed Private Limited to hand over to GMB Mushumbi depot under the Presidential Inputs programme.

Again, Karoro and Ngowe reportedly converted the seeds to their own use.

As a result of the corrupt activities, GMB suffered a prejudice of US$25 000 and nothing was recovered.

–NewsDay

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