Fertiliser manufacturing ‘funeral parlour’ says hard-done by US$400k RBZ disbursement claim

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By Anna Chibamu

FERTILISER, Grain and Seed (FSG) Ltd managing director Steve Morland says parliament’s Public Accounts Portfolio committee’s claims the company received a US$400 000 payment under government’s Command Agriculture programme was misleading and has led to delays on its fertiliser programmes for this farming season.

Morland said this in a statement he shared with local media after an abortive committee meeting in which it was supposed to present oral evidence on the matter last Friday.

He blamed the Tendai Biti led committee for fuelling alleged “negative” reports in the press regarding the dealings of the firm under the controversial scheme.

“Frankly, Honourable members, we feel we did not deserve the remarks and condemnation by your committee.

“It is most unfortunate that this incident ended up being negatively reported in the press and has indirectly resulted in delays to the fertiliser programmes we are delivering under the Presidential input scheme,” said Morland.

His comments arose from evidence given to the committee by former Accountant General Daniel Muchemwa few months ago that FSG was a Funeral Parlour and had received US$400 000 from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

The committee, working according to Auditor General Mildred Chari’s findings, also reported that FSG had been paid US$400 000 which the company director vehemently denied saying they received part of the money in RTGS as well as through Treasury Bills (TBs).

“Honourable members, I wish to reiterate that we were never paid in USD and this should correct the press reports suggesting that we were recipients of foreign currency,” said Morland.

The FSG boss also said his company programmes were in no way related to the Command Agriculture input programmes which are focused on commercial farming.

“Let me state that we have not been directly contracted to supply Command Agriculture. I would like to believe that Honourable Members are fully conversant of the differences in these government funded programmes; PIP and Command Agriculture,” he added.

A report by the AG indicated the finance ministry and central bank made payments of over US$3 billion to different contracted companies under Command Agriculture.