Manangazira testifies in Mutodi's trial

HARARE - A director in the ministry of Health and Child Care yesterday blamed her employer for facilitating her being swindled by businessman Energy Mutodi. 

Portia Manangazira, the director of epidemiology and disease control in the Health ministry, testified before Harare magistrate Hosea Mujaya during Mutodi’s trial continuation.

Mutodi is answering to charges of swindling homeseekers 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).

Manangazira contributed money to NHDT for six months before she instructed Salary Services Bereau (SSB) to stop deductions after realising Mutodi had reportedly duped her.

Manangazira said she has lost trust in the government facilitating business between NHDT and civil servants.

“I am a senior civil servant but do not own a house in Harare,” she said. “I commute from Marondera everyday and no longer have confidence in my employer for facilitating this deal. I actually feel vulnerable.

“The accused person jeopardised my chance to own a house and also wasted my time. If I had made good investment into a house using that money I lost, I am sure by now I would have a house.”

Mutodi’s lawyer Charles Chinyama claimed the land in the Marimba project where Manangazira was allegedly duped had been invaded by one Rashamira and Pedzisai.

Chinyama claims the pair, and not Mutodi, acted in cahoots to deny Manangazira access to the land.

Prosecutor Michael Reza alleges that Mutodi 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 complainants and contrary to his promise, he allegedly withdrew all the money and converted it to his own use.

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