Tanzanian Minister for Home Affairs Kangi Lugola on Sunday ordered police across the east African nation to launch a crackdown on cooperative unions’ officials who have swindled money released by the government to buy crops from farmers.
“I am directing all district and regional police commanders to arrest and prosecute all officials with Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Societies (AMCOS) who will be implicated to have misappropriated money earmarked to buy crops from farmers,” said Lugola.
He made the order after he was told by Bunda district authorities in Mara region that AMCOS officials in the district have misappropriated 1.4 billion Tanzanian shillings (about 609,224 U.S. dollars) released by the government for buying crops from farmers.
“The government cannot tolerate to see dishonest officials embezzling money meant for buying crops from farmers across the country,” said the minister.
On Oct. 21, Tanzanian President John Magufuli announced that up to 92 officials of cooperative unions were arrested over defrauding cashew nuts farmers in southern Tanzania.
Magufuli said some 1.2 billion Tanzanian shillings were scammed by officials from 32 agricultural marketing cooperative societies in their trade with cashew nuts farmers in the southern regions of Mtwara and Lindi between 2016 and 2017.
He said about 255 million shillings have been recovered from some of the scammers by the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB).
Magufuli ordered an investigation into the case after hearing farmers complain that they had not received payment for their crop since 2016 in a recent visit to the two regions, although the government had released money for the purchase. Enditem