Police, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Prosecutor General’s office have vowed to crack down on business people who are bent on stealing fertilizers from the Ministry of Agriculture.
Addressing journalists at the Prosecutor General’s office in Kimihurura, the acting Commissioner General of Police, Mary Gahonzire, warned that those found in illegal possession of fertilizers will be arrested.
“We have been asked to track these thieves. The public should stand warned,” Gahonzire said yesterday.
The State Minister for Agriculture, Agnes Karibata, said that the Ministry had put in place clear measures to distribute subsidized fertilizers to all farmers especially those growing rice and maize.
She revealed that some people had been contracted to supply fertilisers to the farmers. The warning comes a year after the ministry unearthed a scam involving theft of the country’s fertilizers.
“Yes, we increased productivity in agriculture last year. But we want it doubled and nobody should divert the fertilizers,” Karibata said.
According to Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga, fertilizer thieves will be charged with economic sabotage and the suspects will on conviction be handed five years’ imprisonment. He said the accomplices will also not be let off the hook.
“They will also be charged.” Recently, an employee of the Ministry of Agriculture, Innocent Bikoro Bukuru, was arrested after he was discovered trying to sell two tonnes of this season’s fertilizers illegally.