GUTU – Gutu Magistrate Edwin Marecha has blasted Command Agriculture officers for taking a laid back position when distributing inputs and resources under the scheme.
Marecha made the scathing attack on the officers when he sentenced a Gutu co-operative chairman to two months in jail or $72 fine after he found him guilty of stealing 60 litres of fuel from the Government supported maize farming programme.
Marecha convicted Thomas Muchemwa for the theft but placed equal blame on the Command Agriculture staff who he accused for failing to articulate to a lay person like Muchemwa how to record and account for the fuel that he was allocated to used.
Marecha blasted the Command Agriculture personnel for failing to produce to the court a manual with information on how farming tractors consume fuel and failure to service the tractors during the course of ploughing.
It was the State case that Muchemwa was given 40 coupons equivalent to 800 litres of diesel by Norman Mudzengi representing Command Agriculture.
An audit showed that Muchemwa converted 187.5 litres of diesel to his own use.
Marecha described the Command agriculture staff as people who are unaccountable who were blaming a poor layman for their own faults.
The magistrate concluded that there were only 60 litres that went missing instead of the 187,5 litres alleged by the audit. He said the whole outcome of the audit was based on assumption.