BULAWAYO: Perennially bungling state corporation, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has suspended its Belmont Depot Manager Stanley Chimakira and four of his subordinates amid allegations of criminally diverting the Government-subsidised Mealie-meal together with other products from Silo Foods Industries to the black market.
Chimakira and the other four accused namely Buhle Dube, Vincent Gwavariro, Tashin Kamangira and Samkeliso Nyathi’s underhand dealings were brought to the surface following an internal audit at the parastatal.
Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister Raj Modi said the internal audit was preceded by investigations carried out by the state-run taskforce team on Mealie-meal.
Chaired by Modi, the roller meal taskforce team latter reported the matter to corruption watchdog, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption (ZACC), leading to the subsequent suspension of the quintet.
The suspended manager and company were allegedly feeding the parallel market with the state-subsidised mealie-meal.
“My taskforce team recently unearthed serious irregularities at the GMB depot in Belmont and the manager and his team were involved in diverting subsidised roller meal to the black market. As I speak, they have been suspended pending hearings,” said Modi.
A source said:
“The depot manager and people in the sales department operated as a syndicate to feed the black market with the subsidised mealie-meal. In some cases, you would see a 30-ton truck transporting mealie-meal to these pseudo shops and starving registered traders and other big supermarkets”.
It has since been established that the internal audit at GMB revealed that about 90 percent of the business transactions at the struggling parastatal were not above board.
Surprisingly, GMB general manager Rockie Mutenha claimed that he was not aware of the suspensions, saying the people who were said to be suspended were still at work.
“I am not aware of the suspensions that you are talking about. As far as I know, those people who are purported to have been suspended are actually at work as we speak and you can even go there and check for yourself”, Mutenha said.
Previously revered for being the breadbasket of the southern African region, Zimbabwe is currently facing severe maize-meal shortages and the country has resorted to importing the grain to feed it’s approximate 14million citizens.