Police arrest four over Mangochi fertiliser saga

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The eastern region police have arrested four suspects in connection with the incident in which some bags of the fertiliser in farm input subsidy programme were found containing sand in Mangochi.

The region’s publicist Thomeck Nyaude said the four are Gilbert Mambo 23, Mike George 27, Aubrey Limbanga 33, and Davie Issa 20.

He explained that during inspection at SFFRFM offices in Blantyre it was discovered that the 114 bags were found with dark soil mixed with few grains of fertilizer.

“We also discovered that some bags were overweight while others were under weight. 84 bags were overweight between 53 kilograms to 59 kilograms while four were under weight between 48 kilograms to 44 kilograms.

“Further investigations also reveal that the suspected fertilizer was ferried by Chidzukulu trucking company of Blantyre from Optichem factory and off loaded directly into Simama truck at SFFRFM,” said Nyaude.

He explained that the Chidzukulu records show its loading of fertilizer from Optichem to SFFRFM and that was loaded contrary to the 700 bags it was allowed to carry.

“The 600 bags went to Simama while the 100 remaining bags were sent to Chiringa in Phalombe. The Chidzukulu truck driver and his assistant have also been arrested and are in custody at Ndirande police,” said Nyaude.

Nyaude further said the police are trying to find the documents that were issued to the two transporters at the weigh bridges of Optichem and SFFRFM during and after off loading and taking off times.

A truck KA 5310 carrying 600 bags of fertilizer was sent back to Smallholder Farmers Fertiliser Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRFM) depot on Saturday after it was discovered that the fertilizer was not genuine.

Bvumbwe research Centre which is leading the testing exercise says 114 bags have been confirmed to have a higher percentage of sand than the fertilizer

The centres Principal research scientist Austin Phiri said the whole load of 600 bags fertilizer has been checked physically and tests have been carried out.

He further said the findings on the 114 bags reveal that the content is not fit for garden use.

The fertiliser was destined for Katuli Admarc Depot in Mangochi Nkungulu constituency and was being transported by Simama transporters.

Members of the constituency discovered the fake fertilizer after one bag fell and burst during off loading.

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