Police in Nkhata Bay have recovered fertiliser worth about K750 000 (about $1 100) linked to the taxpayer-sponsored Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp).
The 30 bags of basal dressing fertiliser were found buried in the backyard of George Kasambara, 31, at Chavukuka on the margins of Vizala Plantation Limited where the law enforcers were investigating theft of 18 bags at the rubber estate, according to police.
“Our detectives got a tip off from a concerned citizen who had seen Kasambara digging the pit in which he buried the bags at night. Further follow ups led our officers to the pit where the suspect had grown potatoes to conceal the bags,” said Northern Region Police spokesperson Peter Kalaya.
The Nation team that visited the village where the police had unearthed the fertiliser on Sunday saw a pit about two metres deep gaping in a bushy maize field.
Locals said they were surprised when they learnt about the concealment of fertiliser bags in the dead of the night.
Julius Chiwaula, who admittedly took part in the digging, said the fertiliser was bought from beneficiaries of the K60 billion Fisp.
“The majority of the people who received Fisp coupons sold their fertiliser because they got it late. Some got it as late as January when the maize was tasselling,” he said.
Kasambara, who was earlier reported at large, was arrested on Tuesday.
He told The Nation that he bought the confiscated bags at K15 000 each as people were desperate for money having received their share late, with Urea coming earlier than the 23:21:0+4S fertiliser. n