A tobacco contractor, Vision Leaf Tobacco has been suspended from operating on allegations of impropriety, among them accusations of defrauding growers, an industry official said on Friday.
A total of 32 contracting companies were licensed this season.
In a memo to Vision Leaf Tobacco management seen by New Ziana, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) said the suspension was necessitated by an assessment which discovered some anomalies in the contractor’s operations.
“Consequently, the TIMB has suspended your contract sales with immediate effect and you are directed to stop conducting sales and resumption will be determined by your remedying of the above issues,” it said.
TIMB public affairs officer, Chelesani Tsarwe told New Ziana that Vision Leaf Tobacco has been suspended for violating the Contractors’ Compliance Administration Framework.
“This includes altering Goods Received Vouchers (GRVs), non-disclosure and or absence of prices of inputs issued to farmers and under-funding, only to charge abnormally high mark-up rates for inputs is a way through which contractors defraud the tobacco grower,” she said.
“The welfare of the grower is at the epicentre of TIMB’s operations and this season we will not allow the grower to be victimised. We have a tough stance against non-compliance to industry regulations, short-changing tobacco growers and other actions that destabilise the tobacco industry,” she added.
Over the years, tobacco farmers have cried foul over deductions made by contractors for inputs supplied, accusing them of inflating prices.
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