Farmer loses over $200 000 to commodity brokers

HARARE - A farmer has lost 375 tonnes of wheat worth over $200 000 after three commodity brokers sold his produce and pocketed the money.

Shepherd Gwasira, a farmer based in Rafingora where he grows wheat among other crops, allegedly engaged Joseph Chigamura, 37, Everisto Machingauta, 38, and Romeo Nyamuchengwa, 36 to act as middlemen.

According to state papers, Gwasira owns another farm in Norton, where he also grows wheat.

Chigamura, Machingauta and Nyamuchengwa yesterday appeared before magistrate Anita Tshuma on fraud charges.

The court heard that in October this year, Chigamura misrepresented to Gwasira that he had a buyer who wanted to buy his wheat.

Chigamura allegedly introduced Gwasira to his accomplices, Russell Clinton and Brian Tshuma, who are still at large, as potential buyers.

It is alleged the four agreed Chigumira and his colleagues would sell the wheat and remit the money to Gwasira.

Prosecutor Tungamirai Chakurira told the court Machingauta and Nyamuchengwa hired trucks and transported Gwasira’s 375 tonnes of wheat to some buyers.

The three allegedly sold the wheat for $215 625 and converted the money to their own use.

Gwasira, the court heard, demanded his money from Chigamura who told him that the buyer was yet to pay.

According to state papers, Chigamura would sometimes switch off his cellphone to avoid Gwasira.

A suspicious Gwasira visited wheat buying firms Wheatstar and Powerfoods and discovered that the three had sold his wheat there.

Gwasira then filed a police report leading to the trio’s arrest.

Magistrate Tshuma released the three on $200 bail each.

They will be back in court on December 28.

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