FORMER Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Deputy Minister, Engineer Tapiwanashe Matangaidze has allegedly been found with 32 tonnes of rice stashed in a warehouse at Chachacha Growth Point in Shurugwi, Sunday News has learnt.
The rice was donated to Zimbabwe by the Chinese government as food aid and the former deputy minister could not explain how it ended up in his hands.
Zanu-PF Midlands provincial spokesperson Mr Cornelius Mpereri confirmed that Eng Matangaidze was found with rice stashed at Chachacha Growth Point.
“In the province we have received reports that there are two former ministers and an MP who have been found with food stashed either at their houses or farms. In Shurugwi Eng Matangaidze was found with hordes of bags of rice, in Zvishavane Makhosini Hlongwane was also found with sugar beans while in Kwekwe Masango Matambanadzo was found with an assorted collection of items that he failed to account for,” he said.
Word is that police together with other Government officials pounced at one of the warehouses in Chachacha last week and discovered 32 tonnes of Chinese rice.
A Government source told the Sunday News that following the incident Eng Matangaidze was called by police in the presence of Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Cde Owen Ncube where he alleged that the food was a donation to him as an individual from China.
The source said Eng Matangaidze was asked to produce documentation to support his claims but was yet to do so.
“Eng Matangaidze was last week found with 32 tonnes of Chinese rice stashed at Chachacha Growth Point. He was raided by police and other Government officials and they found the rice stashed in one of the shops at the growth point. Midlands Minister of State Cde Ncube was then informed of this development.
“Eng Matangaidze was then asked to bring documentation which shows that it was indeed a donation but he is still to do so. Immediately after the raid he then moved some of the rice which he donated to villagers in Shurugwi.
“The suspicion was that he used his position as Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to get the donation under the auspices of seeking food aid for the people,” said the source.
Acting Midlands police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Ethel Mukwende could neither deny nor confirm the development when contacted for comment.
“I am not aware of that. I will get hold of the responsible station and if I get any information related to that I will inform you,” she said.
Contacted for comment Eng Matangaidze vehemently denied the allegations.
“I don’t have those details, my house is in Gweru, you can go and check for yourself I can even give you my address. There is nothing like that,” he said.
Minister Ncube referred this reporter to the police. “Such matters are handled by police,” he said.