The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has intercepted and seized more than 40 tonnes of maize belonging to Norton Member of Parliament Temba Mliswa which was destined for private buyers in violation of a law restricting the sale of maize and soya beans, legislators heard today.
GMB Chief executive officer, Mr Rockie Mutenha told Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development that they intercepted Mr Mliswa’s maize in Selous recently and had documentary evidence on its destination.
The committee chaired by Gokwe Nembudziya MP Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena had invited GMB, officials from the Ministry and its parastatals for a post-budget consultative meeting. Cde Wadyajena asked Mr Mutenha if he had not misled the public by implicating Mr Mliswa over the illegal sale of maize given that the legislator had denied the allegations.
But Mr Mutenha said he stood by his words that Mr Mliswa was among those people whom they had intercepted with maize and soya beans destined for private buyers.
“The record that we have is very correct, that Hon Mliswa was caught by our staff delivering or taking maize to Selous, Chegutu, that there was no movement (of grain) permit at all, and we have documentary evidence if the committee wants that information and where it was going. That is why up to now he has not even sued me because he knew that what he was saying was not correct. And the matter is before the courts right now,” said Mr Mutenha.
Mr Mliswa had denied the allegations saying the accusations smacked of an agenda.
“Failure to do so, I’ll be suing them. No maize has been seized and it’s there at my farm. If it was seized then it should be in their possession and I put this to the strictest proof thereof,” said Mr Mliswa on his Twitter handle at the time.
Government has invoked Statutory Instrument 97 of 2021 which restricts the selling of maize and soya beans only to registered players.
In terms of the provision, no one is allowed to sell maize other than GMB unless if one is a bonafide contractor registered by the Agricultural Marketing Authority.
Offenders found to be in violation risk forfeiture and pay a fine three times the marketing value of the controlled product in his or her possession.