Mphoko's ally in hot soup

HARARE - A former Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) employee who was released from police custody by ex-vice president Phelekezela Mphoko in 2016 is now facing criminal prosecution over graft charges.

Mphoko stirred controversy in July 2016, after he stormed Avondale Police Station and ordered the release of then Zinara’s chief executive officer Moses Juma — whose case is now before the courts — and Davison Norupiri who has been turned into a State witness in the matter.

Juma appeared before Harare magistrate Yeukai Chigodora charged with criminal abuse of duty as a public officer.

The matter was postponed to July 27 after Juma advised the court that he was too ill to attend trial.

“The accused person suffered from hypertension and got time off duty from July 19-27 which was authorised by his doctor and has proof to that effect,” Juma’s lawyer said.

The complainant is State represented by acting principal officer at State Procurement Board. Prosecutor Chris Mutangadura alleged that sometime in 2014 Zinara had a tax obligation with Zimbabwe Revenue Authority of $15 418 133, 61.

As a result, the authority garnished $5 714 587, 25 on their account, leaving a balance of $9 703 546, 36.

A report was made to the Zinara board by management for guidance to reduce tax obligations.

The board tasked its finance committee, chaired by Norupiri to engage tax consultancy firm to reduce tax obligations.

Juma, in his capacity as acting accounting officer at that time, went on to engage Tax Management Services without following proper tender procedures and Zinara was charged $17 250 for tax health checks.

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