Top govt officials fingered in grain importation scam

A RED FLAG has been raised over alleged profiteering by some top government officials through importation of maize at inflated prices, Zim Morning Post can reveal.

Zim Morning Post understands that some top government officials ,working in cahoots with Grain Marketing Board (GMB) officials last week imported 17 000 tonnes of grain at double the world  market price , icing their pockets in the process.

This development comes against the backdrop that there is a severe food shortage in the country.

“We can put it  to you that some top government officials are inflating grain prices and pocket the difference.

“We are close to concluding our investigations which we will forward to the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commision (ZACC),” revealed our source who works for a local non govermental organisation.

The World Food Programme (WFP) submitted that the country needs at least 800,000 tonnes of wheat  to avert disaster.

This doesn’t include the grain needed to keep farm animals alive.

 In July, some agency estimates suggested Zimbabwe would need 1.3-1.4m tonnes – 850,000 tonnes of white maize, 350,000 tonnes of wheat and 80,000 tonnes of soya and cooking oil, including animal feed. 

 A WFP ‘flash appeal’ has so far secured pledges of only about $150m: $89m from the United States, €9 mn ($10m) from the European Union and £50-60m ($60-75m) from the United Kingdom. 

According to the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ),  Zimbabwe has enough grain to support its population for the next three months.

GMB chief executive officer Rockie Mutenha confirmed the increase in producer prices.

“The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) advises that the Government increased the producer prices for maize and traditional grains namely sorghum, millet and rapoko to $4 000 up from $2 100.

“GMB is encouraging farmers who still have grain to take advantage of the new prices and urgently deliver their crop to their nearest depot.

“For any clarification, farmers can contact the GMB corporate communications department,” he said.