Navistar bosses' trial postponed

HARARE - The trial of three Navistar Insurance Brokers (Private) Limited (Navistar) bosses, whose insurance brokerage services were illegally acquired by Air Zimbabwe without seeking approval from the State Procurement Board, has been postponed to October 15.

Givemore Nderere, 45, and Vukile Hlupo, 45, were released by High Court judge Justice Joseph Musakwa on $5 000 bail while Orten Mawire, 60, was freed on $1 000 bail.

Nderere and Hlupo are Navistar’s managing directors, while Mawire is the finance director. They are facing four counts of fraud and theft of trust property charges.

The trio, who were remanded by regional magistrate Noel Mupeiwa, had their bail conditions relaxed to reporting once a week at CID Serious Fraud squad, while other conditions remain unchanged.

Their lawyer, George Mhlanga, told the court that they needed more time to prepare their defence as they had only been furnished with the docket on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Oliver Marwa also indicated that the State had been given documentary evidence on Tuesday which was very bulky and needed time to go through.

The State claims the trio connived with then Air Zimbabwe bosses Peter Chikumba and Grace Pfumbidzayi to defraud the national airline by inflating aviation insurance premiums.

It is alleged that the group presented several inflated debit notes to the airline, leading to payments of illegal aviation insurance premiums last year.

The payments were allegedly made to Colemont Reinsurance (Private) Limited and Marsh Reinsurance Brokers (Private) Limited, both United Kingdom-based companies.

Prosecutors told the court that as a result of the misrepresentation, the airline’s finance department released €15 783 452,93 to Navistar.

According to State papers, Navistar only remitted €10 607 859,22 to the two international brokers and pocketed €5 895 695,49.

In May 2009, it is alleged Navistar received $142 300 from the airline for onward transmission to the European Commission to dodge sanctions.

They allegedly converted the money to their own use, before further pocketing insurance fees.

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