Balaka Magistrate’s Court has blamed the district’s police for arresting vendors dealing in subsidised fertiliser, arguing the commodity was obtained legally.
Balaka Police recently arrested Malita Elias, 45, and Chancy Nyamulani, 40, after they were found with 103 bags of subsidised fertiliser.
They were charged with an offence of being found in possession of property suspected to have been stolen or unlawfully obtained.
But when they appeared before the court on Tuesday, the two pleaded not guilty to the offence, saying they did not force the local farmers to sell them the fertiliser.
Second grade magistrate Maxwell Boaz blamed police for arresting the vendors, saying the suspects did not steal the commodity from the beneficiaries.
“The beneficiaries voluntarily sold the fertiliser because they had problems to solve,” said Boaz.
Before acquitting the suspects and ordering police to return the fertiliser to the vendors, Boaz called on government to put in place strong measures that can hinder beneficiaries of subsidised farm inputs from selling the items.