Ex-RBZ official jailed

HARARE - A former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) official Joseph Banda has been jailed for four years after being convicted on 15 counts of fraud and two counts of impersonating a senior police officer.

Harare regional magistrate William Bhila yesterday sentenced Banda to four years in prison on the 15 counts of fraud, and a further 12 months on the two counts of impersonating a police officer.

However, magistrate Bhila said the sentences on the fraud and impersonation charges were to run concurrently, leaving Banda with an effective four years in prison.

Bhila said Banda who was once convicted in 1987 and 1996 deserved an “exemplary sentence” and described his “moral blameworthiness” as “extremely high”.

Banda masqueraded as a retired senior assistant commissioner in the police force, a war veteran and an RBZ official before fraudulently acquiring motorbikes, generators, knapsacks, harrows and other implements under the government’s farm mechanisation programme.

The court further heard Banda got employed by the RBZ on the strength that he lied that he was a retired senior assistant commissioner from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) in 2006.

Investigations revealed he was never employed by the ZRP.

He was retrenched in 2007, but continued presenting himself as a police officer and an RBZ official, until his arrest by the Anti-Corruption Commission in March 2009.

On one occasion, Banda lied that he had approval from RBZ governor Gideon Gono to acquire some farming implements.

According to state papers, the misrepresentation by Banda caused RBZ to suffer prejudice on its “reputation” and “good administration”.

After realising that the net was closing on him, Banda made verbal and written communications lying that he is a war veteran in a bid to avoid arrest and prosecution.

Soon after being sentenced Banda yesterday gave notice of his intention to appeal against the court’s ruling. - Tendai Kamhungira

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