Police in Chikwawa have intercepted 913 bags of fertiliser for the K158 billion Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) which is rocked by logistical challenges that have left beneficiaries spending nights at selling points to redeem their inputs.
The intercepted trucks reportedly loaded the AIP fertiliser on Tuesday night at an undisclosed place at Ngabu in the district and were heading towards Blantyre when they were seized at Kamuzu Bridge early yesterday.
One truck registration CK 7554 belonging to H. Mahomed of Private Bag 37 in Nsanje carried 300 bags comprising 130 bags of Urea and 170 bags of NPK of Agora, Kulima Gold and Yara.
The other vehicle, registration MJ 8242 with a trailer bearing registration SA 6231 and owned by A. H. K. Haulage of Limbe, had 613 bags of assorted fertiliser, according to two documents the police seized from the drivers and seen by The Nation.
The documents dated December 1 2020 were signed by E. Kamanga on behalf of Katsire Trading, P. O. Box 38, Ngabu in Chikwawa purportedly for the attention of the branch manager, Katsire Trading in Blantyre.
Kamanga could not be reached on his mobile phones.
The two drivers refused to grant interviews at Chikwawa Police Station where they were detained for interrogation.
Chikwawa Police Station officer-in-charge Jane Mandala also declined to comment on the matter, saying investigations were still in progress.
But in an interview at the station, Deputy Minister of Lands Abida Mia, who is also legislator for Chikwawa Nkombezi Constituency where the fertiliser was acquired, expressed shock and surprise at the development.
Mia and Chikwawa North legislator Owen Chomanika rushed to the police station after news of the interception broke.
On his part, Chomanika said the malpractice was denying rightful people from the district a chance to benefit from AIP.
Civil Society Platform for Constructive Dialogue national coordinator Oliver Nakoma, who also rushed to the police station with his team, described the development as sad.