GMB denies handling funds for command agriculture

By ZBC Reporter
THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has revealed that they were not involved in the command agriculture programme but only for storage facilities while funds obtained from stop order facilities were paid into command account housed in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement.
This was revealed when officials from GMB appeared before the parliamentary portfolio committee on public accounts committee chaired by Harare East legislator Tendai Biti.
GMB was represented by the Operations Director Clemence Guta and Acting Finance Director Constancia Dzenga who told the committee in no uncertain terms that they have nothing to do with figures under the command agriculture programme but they were part of the presidential inputs scheme.
“GMB was not involved in the command agriculture programme and our involvement was as a receiving agent of inputs as well as distributing. Nothing else. We were involved in the presidential input scheme where we signed agreements with Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,” said Guta.
The committee members tried in vain to arm-twist GMB officials into admitting their role in the command agriculture and demanded their acquittals and their weekly reports regarding the programme.
“We invited the former permanent secretary in the ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Ringson Chitsiko who said command agriculture programme was being handled by ministry of Finance and Economic Development. We invited officials from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development who indicated that the reserve bank was handling the matter. RBZ officials came and told us that they were doing payments only everything else was being done by GMB, so what was your role as GMB in this programme,” asked Biti.
GMB Acting Finance Director Constansia Dzenga indicated that in their financials there are no figures regarding command agriculture.
“GMB has no record of accounts on what has been paid, we are not a signatory to Command Agriculture but only presidential inputs scheme. We received storage and handling fees be it grain or inputs and all that is calculated in relation to tonnage not value,” she said.
The public accounts committee later requested documents with figures relating to command agriculture and presidential inputs scheme despite GMB officials making it clear they had nothing to do with one of the programmes.
Command agriculture has been under the spotlight from legislators in the public accounts committee with figures of US$3 billion being alleged to have been channeled towards the programme despite the permanent secretary in the ministry of Finance and Economic Development, George Guvamatanga, having made it clear that US$900 million dollars was used under the command agriculture programme.