MASVINGO – At least 500 Netone sim cards meant to be used by beneficiaries of the $600m Covid Relief fund to access their allocations were last week stolen by Zanu PF youth who thought that lines were already loaded with money.
The lines were stolen after the youth asked for a private meeting with John Masvinhu at the Chiefs Hall in Masvingo where the sim cards were being sorted out. Masvinhu is leading the disbursement at district level in Masvingo.
An officer with the Ministry of Small to Medium Enterprises who declined to be named for fear of victimisation told The Mirror that the distribution system of the lines is lax and he suspected that it was deliberately made that way so that officials can loot.
Masvinhu declined to comment and referred The Mirror to Joseph Mupinga who heads the Ministry in Masvingo Province.
The theft was only discovered after one elderly woman in Mucheke brought her line to the centre. This shocked the officials who had not yet issued any line. The woman told the officials that she got her line from a Zanu PF youth.
The youth probably abandoned their mission after realising that there was no money in the lines.
“The youths wanted to go and encash the relief money as soon as it reflects unfortunately the money had not been loaded and they decided to give the sim cards to the actual beneficiaries whom they could identify because the names are written on them,” said a source.
Masvingo District Development Coordinator Roy Hove also refused to comment and referred all questions to Ngonidzashe Mudzingwa from the Social Welfare Department.
One source said that the matter would be reported to the Police.
Masvingo Province ZRP acting spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Kudakwashe Dhewa said there was no report on the missing lines.
It is also understood that senior Zanu PF officials brought in 3 000 names outside the Government system. Zanu PF Ward 10 councillor Sengerai Manyanga told those sorting out the lines that there was a special list of beneficiaries brought by him and the Minister of State Ezra, Chadzamira which should be left intact.
“As you sift through the names please don’t panic that some names are not registered with your groups, put them aside ndaangu naState Minister, tine vanhu vedu 3 000 vatakanyoresa,” Manyanga is alleged to have said that to the team.
When contacted Manyanga said he only said the team may not know everyone as some of the people are from his ward. He added that he also collected sim cards for his people as some could not travel 14km to Chiefs Hall.
Source Masvingo Mirror