Anti-graft body goes after ED’s Command Agriculture

Spread This News

By Leopold Munhende

THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) is investigating President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s flagship hunger alleviation project, Command Agriculture, with 200 institutions connected to it now under the micro-scope, chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo has revealed.

Matanda-Moyo was speaking to journalists after watching President Emmerson Mnangagwa swear in eight new Zacc Commissioners in Harare, Monday.

“We have too many cases (being investigated), our next two days will be to itemise the matters that we are investigating.

“An accused person is innocent before the investigations. I will only be able to say I have an actual accused person only after the investigations. That is when I will have the evidence to say this one we are taking to court and this one we are not taking to court,” said Matanda-Moyo.

“For now we are still doing the investigations. We have the Auditor General’s report, the NSSA, the Hwange and Command Agriculture.”

The Command Agriculture scheme was introduced as a special financing model for smallholder maize producers who got fuel, inputs and equipment while they were supposed to give parastatal, Grain Marketing Board (GMB) at least five tonnes and pay back advanced loans.

It was later introduced to cattle ranching and fish farming among other agricultural areas but there have been questions around who funded it and the cost to the public purse.

Politically connected petroleum magnet, Kuda Tagwirei has been at the centre of funding the scheme as well as provision of fuel in particular through his Sakunda Holdings amid claims he was inflating prices.

Government is believed to have lost billions in foreign currency through the scheme but gained little as the food crisis has persisted.

In the last farming season, the project produced 1,1 million tonnes in the 2018-2019, some 200 000 tonnes lower than the 1,3 billion recorded for the 2017-2018 season.

Last year, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube indicated that government will be scaling down on financing the scheme from an initial US$500 million in 2016 to US$238 million in 2018 as he looked to find a way out of the scheme hijacked by politicians and their acolytes.

Matanda-Moyo said she was confident the new team of commissioners appointed by Mnangagwa was up to the task.

Former MDC MPs Jessie Majome and Gabriel Chaibva, John Makamure, Mabel Hungwe, Thandiwe Mlobane, Frank Muchengwa, Dennis Santu and Kuziva Murapa make-up the new Zacc team.