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Former Deputy Minister and GMB Official Face Trial Over Alleged Misuse of Agricultural Inputs

Former Deputy Minister and GMB Official Face Trial Over Alleged Misuse of Agricultural Inputs

Former Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development, Douglas Karoro, and GMB Mushumbi Pools depot assistant manager, Lovejoy Ngowe, stood trial yesterday for allegedly misappropriating agricultural inputs valued at US$43,000 under the Presidential Inputs Scheme. The trial commenced with testimony from the GMB regional enterprise risk officer.

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Norman Severa, the regional enterprise risk officer, informed the court that the trucks utilized by Karoro and Ngowe to transport the inputs were not contracted by GMB, contrary to company protocol. Severa also stated that he was unaware of the destination of the consignments, with no beneficiary lists indicating how the inputs were distributed.

The trial was adjourned until March 11.

Karoro allegedly obtained seed from Ngowe multiple times, falsely labeling it on dispatch vouchers as intended for needy individuals in the constituency, while they reportedly utilized it for personal gain. Ngowe was allegedly found in possession of maize seed at his residence, resulting in GMB incurring losses of US$18,030.

Additionally, in March 2022, Karoro and Ngowe allegedly met to acquire vegetable seed kits, with Karoro supposedly receiving 5,000 kits from Valley Seed Private Limited. Instead of delivering them to GMB Mushumbi depot as intended under the Presidential Inputs Programme, they allegedly diverted them for personal use, with Ngowe instructing subordinate staff to falsify records. The State claims GMB suffered losses of another US$25,000 worth of seed in this instance.

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