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Lagos, Nigeria See Profile
Malawi: Subsidy Programme Woes

Police have recovered 995 subsidised fake fertiliser coupons and 128 bags of fertiliser at Khwisa Admarc market and another 23 bags at Phalula and have arrested several people in the process.

At Khwisa, the police have arrested Admarc clerk Thomas Mpinji who also allegedly did not record K80,000 he collected from the people he was dealing with. The money has not been recovered.

Mpinji, 57, from Matukutu Village in the area of Chief Kalembo in Balaka is on bail and answering charges of conspiracy and abuse of office, according to records at Balaka Police station.

Following a tip from the public, the police impounded a vehicle that carried 98 bags of subsidised fertiliser on the night of November 23 and arrested Mpinji who was also found with 102 fake coupons.

"We understand that for four times, a vehicle loaded with fertiliser bags would come only to be diverted at night. We managed to catch the culprits during the fifth trip," said Lexa Chalera, officer-in-charge of Balaka Police Station.

Chalera said upon further investigations at Khwisa, police discovered another 893 used fake coupons and on December 7, found 30 bags of fertiliser bought by Wyson Amidu which he stored in one of the houses near the Admarc market.

Amidu, said Chalera, is still at large.

On December 8, Phalula police seized 23 bags of subsidised fertiliser on a vehicle with registration number NU 4358 and driven by Kambani Madalitso, 29 of Chimwaye Village in the area of Chief Kwataine in Ntcheu.

Madalitso will be the state witness because he was only hired to deliver the fertiliser, according to Chalera.

She said the owner of the fertiliser is Chifundo Laston, 31, from Eneya Village in the area of Chief Kwataine.

District Agricultural Development Officer (Dado) for Balaka, who refused to give his name, also confirmed the racket but said the culprits are known and that the police are hunting them down.

The Dado said the culprits were using the Admarc clerk to get subsidised fertiliser using fake coupons.

"A vehicle loaded with fertiliser bags would come and go at night with the bags. The community reported to police after witnessing the event several times," said the Dado.

He described the distribution exercise as having been successful in the district because he said the racket was happening after the distribution of coupons.

Tags:Malawi
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