The District Chief Executive (DCE) for Zabzugu/Tatale, Mr. Umar Wahab who was recently cited for defrauding his youth numbering about 200 who paid him Ȼ50 each to participate in ICT training course has again been accused of defrauding his farmers of a colossal sum of Ȼ45, 000.
This amount is said be a deposit of Ȼ4,500 each handed over to him as part payment and in fulfillment of the requirement to acquire tractors through the ministry of Food and agriculture high purchase scheme by some ten farmer groups in the district.
Information however gathered by the Enquirer from the ministry of Food and Agriculture indicated that a farmer who wish to purchase a tractor and its accessories is supposed to deposit 50% of the total cost of the implement while the balance is spread through within three years. The cost of a tractor and its accessories is now between Ȼ24,000 and Ȼ28, 000, according to the Enquirer information.
This implies that this group of farmers or individuals who wish to obtain a tractor(s) under the ministry’s high purchase scheme would have to deposit 50%.
The farmers who are peeved with the president’s representative have appealed to the presidency to impress upon the DCE to refund their money with interest.
Some of the supposed farmer group members alleged that the DCE was adamant to demand for refund saying “he verbally pour “venom” on them and threatening them with arrest” anytime they appear before him to discuss the matter.
“That is why we want the public to know about this deal so that we can at least recover our money mobilized through our daily toil if he is not able to supply us with the tractors”, a frustrated farmers told theEnquirer during interaction in Yendi.
Though the DCE allegedly promised to deliver the tractors to the said farmer groups within the shortest period, it has however taken him two years now to supply them with a single tractor, they said.
The farmers alleged that Mr. Wahab who could not produce receipts to individual farmer groups as evidence of payment to the ministry’s tractor service account alleged that they were being “bully” by the president’s representative when they approach him on the matter.
According to the frustrated farmers, the DCE could not also direct them to the ministry or agency he was working with to get the tractors supply to them but always flares up.
“We are suspecting that he used the money to buy some shares so it is difficult for him to access it again”, they said.
The farmers who are planning to hit the streets to demonstration again the president’s representative called on the president to look into th matter.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Enquirer, some members of various farmer groups who want to remain anonymous for fear of intimidation and harassment complained that their wards recently lost huge amount of money to the DCE who promised to train them in ICT but failed.
“The DCE will always burst out with anger anytime we demanded receipts as evidence of payment. This gave us a clue to suspect that something is wrong somewhere”, the farmers said.
The farmers who described the DCE as “highly cunny” said that they have lost confidence in him and appealed to the president to intervene.
The actions and inactions of the DCE, according to a top NDC guru within the district were provoking the people against the government.
He said that this may have some repercussions of the performance of the party during the 2012 elections if nothing was done about it.
“Section of the people in the district has been complaining about the conduct of the DCE, from one allegation to the other this is not good enough for the party development”, he said.
The top NDC member also alleged that the DCE takes decisions without consultation.
The DCE when contacted confirmed taking money from some group of farmers to help them acquire these tractors through the ministry of Food and Agriculture high purchase scheme.
He however refused to disclose the amount he collected and the number of farmer groups involved but only to say that the groups had paid Ȼ4,500 each to him.
He also claimed to have in his possession a receipt backing the deposit for the tractors but could not tell this reporter which ministry or agency account he paid this money into for verification purpose but promised to show the receipt covering the deposit to the Enquirer when he had recovered from malaria and had made a journey back from Accra later within the month.
Mr. Wahab who sounded very disturbed on phone told the Enquirer to direct those farmers who were not interested in the deal to come for their refund disclosing that somebody had already indicated to him that he had seen a used tractor and was interested in it “so I told him to look for the money elsewhere to pay for it so that anytime I travel to Accra I can bring his money to him”,
On consulting party members, the DCE said that he does not need to consult party when taking decisions.