At least 40 people have been arrested in connection to various malpractices in the implementation of this year’s Affordable Input Program (AIP).
Deputy Director of Community Policing in Malawi Police Service Alex Simenti has told iHubOnline that some of the suspects have been arrested for alleged corrupt practices in the procurement of the low cost farm inputs.
Simenti said most of the suspects were arrested in operations jointly conducted with community level policing forums.
He revealed that a sizeable of the suspects were caught trying to purchase the inputs in bulk using many people’s Identity Cards.
He stressed that those arrested included traders and officials recruited for the exercise.
“We are moving up and down as police, monitoring on how the exercise is being conducted through community policing,” said Simenti.
“We have been receiving tips that some unscrupulous people were collecting additional money from beneficiaries. Those caught demanding money will also be dealt with,” he added, urging members of the community to report any official demanding extra money than the official price.
He said the suspects will appear in court soon to answer relevant charges ranging from possession of property suspected to have been stolen and corruption.
Police have vowed to maintain strict enforcement of the law to.ensure sanity.
Government records show that about 3.7 million farming households are earmarked for this year’s AIP, a successor Fertilizer Subsidy Programme (FISP).
Meanwhile, Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson Gracian Lungu has told us that at least 3.5 million have been reached.
“At least 80 percent have been reached and the program will only come to an end only after serving all eligible beneficiaries.”
Earlier reports suggested the program was failing to run smoothly due ro bottlenecks bordering on logistical challenges.
This led to some beneficiaries sleeping at designated selling points just to keep a position to access the inputs earlier.