Fertiliser company denies making coffins with Command Agric money

MDC vice president and Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee chairperson Tendai Biti

A local fertiliser company, Fertiliser Grain and Seed (FGS) has refuted allegations that it is running a funeral parlour and channelling the money meant to supply Command Agriculture with fertiliser to funeral services.

The company made headlines in August when MDC vice president and Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee chairperson Tendai Biti accused Treasury of paying US$400 million to the company with no known address or contact person.

FSG is said to have failed to deliver and nothing was recovered.

However, FSG managing director Steve Morland said this was a case of mistaken identity.

“We are not the company in question and the officials mistook us for another company that does funeral services,” Morland told members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, chair by Zanu PF MP, Justice Wadyajena who toured the company premises in Bindura Friday on a fact finding mission.

“And we are not doing anything with Command Agriculture nor do we have any business relationship with Sakunda Holdings.”

Morland told the lawmakers that his company, which has a contract to supply fertiliser under the Presidential Input Scheme and not Command Agriculture, is ready for the upcoming planting season.

“In terms of preparedness, this season we have been building up raw materials from Morocco, Ukraine and Russia for months and there is another vessel which has arrived in Beira, Mozambique and waiting to be transported to Zimbabwe,” he said.

“We have organised our own electricity, we have a direct line. We pay them (Zesa) in foreign currency, and we own a generator big enough to power our plant and we source our own diesel.”

He added: “Currently we are producing 600 tonnes of fertiliser per day delivered to the Grain Marketing Board and other customers. By next week, we will be up to 900 tonnes per day which is our full capacity.

“There was an outcry when it emerged that FSG and other companies do not have the capacity to produce fertiliser.”

According to the 2018 AG’s report, the Command Agriculture programme has gobbled almost US$5 billion dominated by ‘dodgy’ payments.