Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has urged the police to arrest corrupt elements like middlemen and officials abusing the Command Agriculture programme. VP Mnangagwa said the police should enforce Statutory Instrument 79, which was gazetted recently and arrest opportunists profiteering from Government funded programmes.

“This Statutory Instrument thus makes the abuse of inputs distributed under the Command Agriculture Scheme for domestic crop, livestock and fisheries production a criminal offence,” said VP Mnangagwa.

“In view of the lessons learnt from previous programmes, with regards to middlemen and opportunists, who thrive on profiteering from Government funded programmes, SI 79 of 2017, therefore, protects produce and Government property acquired under the Command Programme from abuse and misappropriation.”

SI 79 provides for inspectors to visit beneficiaries to verify adherence to contractual obligations.

VP Mnangagwa said the regulations were also a reaction to findings of his recent visit to Grain Marketing Board depots in Mashonaland West Province where inefficiencies and manipulation of grain moisture content in connivance with middlemen were noted.

The grain will then be sold at the gazetted price of $390 by the middlemen once they buy it from the farmers for less.

“That is corruption. Down with corruption. We now have a law to arrest such people. Manipulating others into giving up their maize for less than the gazetted price, stealing fertiliser, seed and inputs will lead to arrest,” he said.

“If the police did not know that we now have such a law in place I am telling them today that they should start arresting offenders.”

He was speaking at a ground breaking ceremony of agro-residential stands in Kadoma being developed by Craft Properties.

 VP Mnangagwa said Government programmes were formulated not to enrich individuals.

He said it was unfair that someone folds their hands during the cropping season only to surface during the marketing season.

VP Mnangagwa said he was assigned to be the “Joseph” of the nation and through the Command Agriculture programme Zimbabwe will be free from hunger. herald