Own Correspondent|THE Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, July Moyo, lost 279 bags of rice worth more than $384 000 when an administrator who was working at his Kwekwe offices allegedly stole and sold them for his own benefit.
This emerged when Warren Nostalgia Madicha (22) who is employed as an administrator at the Minister’s constituency centre in Redcliff, appeared before Kwekwe magistrate Mr Tayengwa Sangster facing theft charges.
Madicha, who resides at House Number 9 King George, Redcliff and it was his duty to safeguard the goods, allegedly abused the trust and sold the goods meant for constituency development and converted the money into his own use.
July Moyo lost the Redcliff Constituency to the MDC in last year’s elections. Questions need answers as to where the rice had come from and what the minister was using it for.
Early last year, former Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Deputy Minister, Engineer Tapiwanashe Matangaidze was arrested after allegedly being found with 32 tonnes of the same rice stashed in a warehouse at Chachacha Growth Point in Shurugwi.
The rice was donated to Zimbabwe by the Chinese government as food aid and the former deputy minister could not explain how it ended up in his hands. Several other senior ZANU PF officials were also arrested for being found with the food aid including Makhosini Hlongwane who was found with tonnes of sugar beans in his possession.
Madicha was remanded in custody to 17 May for trial after he pleaded not guilty through his lawyer, Mr Devious Mujaya of Mawadze and Mujaya Legal Practitioners.
Prosecuting, Mr Freddy Ndoro told the court that on 11 January at about 9am, Moyo brought 400 x 50kg of rice and delivered them to the constituency centre for safekeeping.
On a date unknown to the prosecutor but between 11 January 2019 and 23 April 2019, Madicha allegedly stole 279 x 50kg of rice from the office and sold them to different people.
Moyo, however, discovered that the rice was missing on 23 April and reported the case to the police.
Investigations carried out by police led to the discovery of some of the bags of rice from the people who had bought them and implicated Madicha leading to his arrest.