Former deputy Minister Karoro fraud trial opens

Prosper Dembedza Herald Correspondent

THE fraud trial of former Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Douglas Karoro and GMB Mushumbi Pools depot assistant manager Lovejoy Ngowe opened yesterday with the GMB regional enterprise risk officer taking the witness stand.

Karoro and Ngowe allegedly misappropriated agricultural inputs under the Presidential Inputs Scheme worth US$43 000 in March last year that were meant to benefit farmers in Mbire constituency.

While giving evidence, the regional enterprise risk officer, Norman Severa, said the trucks used by the pair to carry away the inputs were not contracted by GMB, which was against the company’s procedure.

Mr Severa told the court that he did not know where the consignments were going. There were no records on the beneficiary lists to indicate how they were distributed.

The trial was adjourned to March 11.

Karoro allegedly collected seed from Ngowe on several occasions using his cars and had the seed marked on the dispatch vouchers as for the needy in the constituency. The two allegedly converted the seed to their own use.

Ngowe was allegedly found in possession of 10x2kg Seedco SC301 maize seed and 10x5kg Seedco SC513 maize seed in his house at GMB Mushumbi pools.

GMB is said to have lost US$18 030 worth of maize seed in the process.

Again in March 2022, Karoro and Ngowe allegedly met at Mahuwe Shopping Centre in Mushumbi Pools to grab vegetable seed kits.

On March 23 2022, Karoro allegedly received 5 000 vegetable combo kits comprising seed for rape, onion, texas grano and carrots nantes from Valley Seed Private Limited.

He was supposed to hand them over to GMB Mushumbi depot under the Presidential Inputs Programme.

Karoro and Ngowe allegedly failed to deliver the vegetable combo kits to GMB Mushumbi Pools and converted them to their own use, with Ngowe ordering subordinate staff to enter fraudulent details into the records.

GMB lost another US$25 000 worth of seed in the process, according to the State.

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