Two employees from the Zambian ministry of agriculture have been arrested in connection with the theft of fertiliser under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).
It is the first arrest where government officials are directly linked to alleged racketeering schemes. Corruption is believed to be rife in the distribution of inputs under FISP.
Copperbelt police commissioner Charity Katanga confirmed the two suspects, agriculture camp officers in Masaiti district, were arrested along with two others.
Katanga said Passy Falanga and Charles Kapotwe allegedly used their office to obtain D-Compound fertilizer. It is alleged they later sold it to a named farmer in the area. She did not disclose the number of bags of fertiliser sold, but indicated an Isuzu truck, which was used to ferry the contraband, was impounded.
Police believe the fertiliser was intended for farmers from two co-operatives in the area.
Government said it will deal harshly with officials who are found to be abusing the input programme.
Meanwhile, police in Solwezi in North Western Province, arrested four people and impounded a truck laden with 300 bags of mealie-meal believed to be destined for the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The latest arrest comes as smuggling increased in the region, which forms part of the gateway to the DRC.