With a GMB regional enterprise risk officer on the witness stand, the fraud trial of former deputy minister of lands, agriculture, fisheries, water, and rural development Douglas Karoro and assistant manager Lovejoy Ngowe of the GMB Mushumbi Pools depot got underway today.
According to allegations made against them, in March of last year, Karoro and Ngowe stole $43,000 worth of agricultural inputs intended for farmers in the Mbire constituency under the Presidential Inputs Scheme.
In his testimony, Norman Severa, the regional enterprise risk officer, stated that the trucks utilised by the two individuals to transport the consignments were not under contract with GMB, which goes against the company’s protocol.
Mr. Severa admitted to the court that he had no idea where the shipments were being sent.
He continued by saying that the beneficiary lists have no documentation describing the distribution of the funds.
The case was postponed until March 11 in order to continue the trial.
It is said that Karoro used his cars to pick up seed from Ngowe on multiple occasions, designating the seed as being for the constituency’s underprivileged on the dispatch vouchers.
It is said that the two changed the seed for their own purposes.
In his home at GMB Mushumbi pools, Ngowe was purportedly discovered in possession of 10x2kg and 10x5kg of Seedco SC301 and SC513 maize seeds, respectively.
It is reported that GMB lost maize seed valued at US$18,030 throughout the process.
Karoro and Ngowe are said to have met once more in March 2022 at the Mahuwe Shopping Centre in Mushumbi Pools in order to pick up vegetable seed kits.
Karoro is said to have received 5,000 vegetable combination kits from Valley Seed Private Limited on March 23, 2022. The kits included seeds for rape, onions, texas grano, and carrots nantes.
He was expected to turn them over to the Presidential Inputs Programme at the GMB Mushumbi facility.
Ngowe allegedly gave orders to subordinate employees to enter false information into the records, while Karoro allegedly neglected to deliver the veggie combo kits to GMB Mushumbi Pools and convert them for their usage.
The State claims that GMB lost an additional $25,000 worth of seed during the process.
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