More suspects in dock over Finance ministry swindle

HARARE - Two Finance ministry employees and their eight accomplices, who were on the run following allegations of swindling the government of $700 000, appeared at the magistrates’ courts yesterday.

Brian Nyazamba, 34, and Thomas Mawoyo, 35, employed as accountants in the ministry and their accomplices Christopher Kumisai, 35, Tonderai Musekiwa, 42, Felix Rimaunga, 32, Tinashe Jakopo, 46, Antony Tafirenyika, 36, Ranganai Katsande, 44, Madzudzu Mudzimba, 37, and Misheck Zharu, 64, listed as unemployed, appeared before magistrate Tendai Mahwe.

Nyazamba and Mawoyo were granted $1 000 bail each.

But the bail was quashed by prosecutor Sharon Mashavira after invoking Section 121 of the Criminal Code.

The remaining eight accused persons were denied bail because they already have unnamed pending cases.

They are jointly charged with Varaidzo Margret Chirahwi, 32, who is the ministry’s senior economist, Jacob Forgive Mlambo, 30, an accountant; Stanley Zharare, 40, deputy director External Finance; and Mary Takavarasha, 40, acting director Finance and Capital Markets.

They are all out on $1 000 bail each.

According to State papers, the complainant is the Finance ministry, represented by John Masiyanise.

Allegations against the group arose in December last year, when they manufactured and submitted to the accountant general’s office fake invoices for payment in the names of Nico Orgo (Private) Limited and Pioneer Hibred (Private) Limited.

It was later established that the companies were non-existent.

They reportedly further attached a fake covering letter purportedly originated from Kudakwashe Zata, a finance director in the Agriculture ministry, indicating that the two companies had supplied inputs worth $412 095 and was entitled to get payment.

According to State papers,  the ministry, acting on the fake documents, instructed FBC Bank to effect a transfer of $220 050 into accused’s Banc ABC account and $192 045 into another Steward Bank account.

It is alleged that the two bank accounts were opened in December last year.

The court heard that between December 31, last year and January this year, the accused persons withdrew a total of $407 785 through cash withdrawals and transferred $92 750 into an FBC Bank account.

At least $79 915 was transferred into a Steward Bank account.

As a result, the ministry suffered a total prejudice of $412 000.

Using the same trick, the group submitted another fake invoice worth $317 250 in the name of Pioneer Hibred for payment on January 5, 2015.

The ministry acted upon the fake documents and instructed FBC Bank to transfer $317 250 into the accused’s BancABC account which they had previously used.

It is alleged that between January 7 to 12, this year, the accused withdrew $312 945 in cash, leaving a balance of $4 310.

The offence only came to light on January 15, this year when the Agriculture ministry, through Zata, requested the Finance ministry to release funds to Reapers (Private) Limited, Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company and Windmill (Private) Limited, but was surprised to learn that the bank balance was insufficient to meet the payments.

Due to accused’s actions, the ministry suffered an actual prejudice of $729 345 and only $4 310 was recovered.

Comments (7)

its painful very young people stilling from their own gvt and country how can the ministry employ very immature people in such key areas, ministry to blame we are tired of nepotism

EFF Zimbabwe/ vic falls - 4 March 2015

Sorry guys..try later. Who wants to work for this RGM Gvt with the meagre salaries people are being paid...Thios only a tip of the iceberg

Garikayi - 4 March 2015

Zvino vana vangadiniko kana pay dzirishoma shuwa.Nyaya iyi ikanyatsoenderera mberi shasha dzepamusoro dzinodonha. I dont believe that we will ever see this case to its conclusion. However, at best we will probably see small fish being marinated.

shasha - 4 March 2015

what a pity. people should learn to reap what they sow. haisi mari yenyu so why taking it. sungwai stereki

dziva - 4 March 2015

Invoice frauds are rampant nowadays. The government has been hard hit by these scams. Due to lack of proper accountability structures in Gvt, it is clear that its NOT sanctions but corruption. We should never be lenient with these culprits. The penalty must be deterrent enough to send a clear measure and set a clear standard of NO TOLERANCE TO CORRUPTION in the country in all sectors of the economy. I thank you.

Invoice Frauds Rampant - 5 March 2015

I dont think we have to blame these people because if people like the former minister of mines who did not remit money got from Marange Diamonds into Treasury was let loose and currently he is reaping people on the Toll gate issue.Police is milking us of our hard earned cash through unorthodox means charging thiose who are doing a service by ferrying people to their places of residences.However it is only the law of the land which does not allow simeone to be causght otherwise what they have done is an eye opener to the bosses up there,.

Abbie Makiwa - 5 March 2015

They now should check all invoices and match them to the companies especially those for Netone to Huawei, Ministry of Energy to Sino Hydro Power company, check all those transaction you will see inflated figures which never hit the coffers of those companies.

maita - 5 March 2015

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