Douglas Karoro Denies Defrauding Grain Marketing Board (GMB)
Former Deputy Minister Douglas Karoro’s fraud trial began Thursday in Harare.
Lovejoy Ngowe, Mugove Chidamba, Jeremy Phiri, and Dean Dzimunya, Karoro’s accused accomplices, pleaded not guilty before Harare regional magistrate Marewanazvo Gofa.
Between March and April, the five are accused of defrauding the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) of 700 bags of fertiliser, $18,000 in maize seed, and 5,000 vegetable seed kits under the Presidential input system.
According to the State, the inputs were intended for farmers and came from Mushumbi Pools Depot in Mbire, Mashonaland Central.
Karoro denies ever conspiring with his accused accomplices to defraud GMB Mushumbi Pools in his own capacity.
He denied ever requesting GMB Mashumbi to issue goods dispatch vouchers for 700x50kg bags of Compound D fertiliser in his name as alleged by the State.
He also denied ever selling the bags of fertiliser to State witness, Widdorn Chiodza, for US$10 700.
He told the court that the allegations were malicious, frivolous and vexatious.
He said they were being peddled by GMB in connivance with influential people within the law enforcement agencies or other Government linked institutions.
He claimed the allegations maliciously caused his arrest, without any shred of evidence, because his political detractors were eyeing his parliamentary seat.
Their connections, he claimed, have unlawfully whipped them into their path for purposes of abusing the criminal justice system.
Phiri, in his defence, denied ever requesting the dispatch of the fertilisers purporting that they were going to be distributed to the needy.
He denied ever authoring the documents authorising the release of the fertilisers as alleged.
George Manokore appeared for the State.
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