12 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Duped Farmers Stage Demo At Court

OVER 150 farmers yesterday thronged the Harare Magistrates' Courts baying for the blood of a Harare woman who allegedly duped them of hundreds of tonnes of maize after misrepresenting that she paid more money than the Grain Marketing Board.

Angela Chipiti of Willowvale Flats in Harare allegedly approached resettled farmers under Chief Chivero in Mhondoro and other areas promising them US$360 per tonne compared to GMB price of US$290.

She reportedly promised to pay for the maize after two weeks.

Yesterday, Chipiti was barred from collecting maize from other farmers by Harare magistrate Ms Georgina Ndava.

Prosecutor Ms Venencia Mutake had sought an order stopping Chipiti from continuing collecting maize from other farmers. She is being charged with defrauding 32 farmers of maize worth US$90 720.

However, yesterday other farmers claiming to have been conned by the same woman gatherered at the court and were made to write statements so that further charges would be laid against Chipiti.

Among the farmers were Mr Paul Charidza and Mr Trymore Mapiye of Mhondoro Ngezi who said they had already reported Chipiti to the police after they gave her 55 tonnes of maize worth US$19 340 and she only paid US$1 000.

Mr Samuel Ndove of Rock farm in Norton said she gave her 44 tonnes and eight bags but he was yet to be paid his money.

Mr Misheck Mapika said he lost 11 tonnes, Mrs Josephine Nyamangara 25 tonnes and Mr Willard Zviripi was only paid US$1 300 for 19 tonnes.

The other farmers who were present at the court most of them elderly people also claimed to have been swindled various tonnages of maize by the same woman.

The farmers who have since appointed a chairman and hired a lawyer to make sure that their case was heard yesterday said they did not have money for inputs owing to the fraud allegedly committed by Chipiti.

The chairman Mr Martin Makanyanga said there were other farmers who did not report the matter in the hope that Chipiti would pay them.

"Some of the farmers are elderly women who cannot even afford to come to court. We hope Government would intervene and help us recover our money because we do not even have money for inputs for this season," he said.

In the case she is appearing in court, the State alleges that between July and August this year, Chipiti negotiated with the 32 farmers to sell their maize to her on credit.

She allegedly enticed them with a buying price of US$360 compared to the GMB offer of US$290.

Chipiti, it is alleged, after collecting 190 tonnes of maize promised to pay the farmers in two weeks.

The State says she sold the maize and converted the proceeds to her personal use and the farmers failed to locate her and they reported the case to the police which led to Chipiti's arrest.

Chipiti is on US$300 bail pending trial.

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