'Mutodi covered up death of 4 people'

HARARE - An ex-manager in Energy Mutodi’s property development firm has said the businessman used home seekers’ money to cover up an accident that killed four people from the same family in Gutu.

Mutodi is answering charges of swindling home-seekers of $588 787 in failed housing development schemes.

He is jointly charged with Boniface Chikono, a trustee in the National Housing and Development Trust (NHDT).

Mutodi and Chikono deny the fraud charge. They are represented by Charles Chinyama, Freddy Machokoto and Ray Tsvakwi.

During cross examination Chandafira Pasipamire, who held several managerial positions before being appointed projects manager for NHDT, testified that he witnessed Mutodi taking $10 000 after narrating how he had reportedly caused the death of four people in an accident.

One of Mutodi’s lawyers, Chinyama, had alleged that Pasipamire’s evidence about how Mutodi siphoned beneficiaries’ money was false.

He said the evidence was based on hearsay and asked Pasipamire to give evidence of incidents he had witnessed Mutodi taking cash from the trust fund.

Pasipamire answered: “Sometime in 2011, the second accused was involved in an accident that killed four people from the same family.

“I know of that incident because on the day in question, he came to the office shaking and narrated the ordeal to me.

“He had been driving his Hummer and when he came to the office, he was in the company of police officers from Gutu.”

Pasipamire testified that Mutodi asked the cashier to release $10 000 from the $12 000 that had been receipted that day.

“He asked the cashier how much money he had before asking for $10 000,” he said.

“I asked him what he wanted to do with the money and he said he was going to use it to do ‘certain things’.

“Mutodi left the offices with the officers and $10 000 cash and up to today, I never heard anything pertaining to that accident again.”

The flamboyant musician is said to have lured over 16 000 civil servants to join and contribute to the housing trust.

Deduction orders were given to government to subtract certain amounts of money on a monthly basis from civil servants who had joined the trust.

It is alleged that sometime in 2007, Mutodi changed the account signing arrangement, and made himself the sole signatory.

He allegedly signed for all the transactions.

At least $588 787 was paid in by the complainants and, contrary to his promises, allegedly withdrew all the money and converted it to his own use.

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