RWAMAGANA - Five local leaders in Kirehe and Nyagatare districts have been arrested for flouting tender procedures to buy maize from local farmers.
The racket began to unfold when funds were instead diverted to buy maize from neighbouring countries, apparently in an attempt to make a profit.
Maize millers had availed money to buy maize at Rwf 120 per kilogramme to ensure market for all farmers’ produce.
People acting as middlemen between the milling companies, particularly one in Mukamira, connived with the local leaders to secure maize from neighbouring countries at relatively cheaper prices.
According to Jean Marie Makombe, the Executive Secretary of the Eastern
Province, farmers and milling companies ended up making heavy losses as a result.
“They were supposed to ascertain that all maize was bought from local farmers...but the documents they possess shows otherwise,” he said.
“A Mukamira maize miller had given money to its workers to buy maize from farmers in Rwanda, but they only bought 10,000 tonnes from local farmers and claim to have bought 100,000 tonnes. They bought most of the maize from Uganda at less than Rwf 80...there was a lot of cheating,” he said.
Eric Zikamwa, the Executive Secretary of Kirehe District, identified one of those implicated as Alphonse Karambizi, the Executive Secretary of Mahama Sector and four other local leaders. They are being held at Nyakarambi Police Station.
Zikamwa said that local leaders were compromised by greedy workers at milling companies in the illegal deals.
Farmers in the Province have been complaining of insufficient market and low prices for maize.