HARARE – Top Zanu-PF officials were yesterday arrested for allegedly defrauding more than 15,000 farmers of their hard-earned cash through a dubious input scheme.
Police arrested Zanu-PF national youth league director Tapiwa Zengeya and Patience Chipere — one of the directors of Lasch Investments — a company engaged to supply farmers with some inputs.
Police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba, yesterday confirmed the arrests saying two other people wanted in connection with the case were on the run.
“We’ve arrested two officials and police are keen to investigate Nelson and Sylvester Mahupete,” she said.
Zanu-PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo, condemned the corrupt conduct of the officials saying the party would take necessary disciplinary measures.
Addressing journalists at Zanu-PF headquarters yesterday, Chombo said the party would take necessary disciplinary measures against the accused officials and that police already had been briefed about the matter.
“As a party, we condemn the abuse of hard earned resources of our populace. Any empowerment initiatives must be in the interest of the majority and not for the benefit of a selected few and must be clear, transparent, fair, legal and above board,” said Chombo.
Chombo deplored Lasch Investments for failing to meet their obligations, leaving farmers stranded with no recourse against a background of the commencement of a promising rainy season.
He said Lasch Investments Company had approached the party’s Youth League to enter into a joint venture support with farmers so as to increase production and productivity through an input support scheme.
It was envisaged that farmers would make contributions and in turn get agricultural inputs.
But Chombo talking about dealing with corruption will make many people laugh at the hypocrisy. There have been long running calls for the Minister himself to be investigated for alleged corruption.
As reported by Nehanda Radio previously, Chombo’s wealth was exposed in 2010 during a messy divorce involving his wife of 25 years, Marian. Court documents exposed the fact that Chombo, a former teacher, had tentacles in virtually all sectors of the economy.
The minister has interests in several farms, mines, hunting safari lodges in Chiredzi, Hwange, Magunje and Chirundu, as well as properties in South Africa. Local properties included 75 residential and commercial stands plus 14 houses and 5 flats, all dotted around the country. Not to mention 15 vehicles.
When a probe team of Harare City Councillors produced a report implicating Chombo and businessman Philip Chiyangwa in the illegal acquisition of council land on the cheap, the police refused to investigate the matter. Instead the councillors and journalists who covered the saga were arrested. Nehanda Radio/The Herald