Directors steal $2 million from Turnall

Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter—
Three Turnall Holdings directors allegedly siphoned more than $2 million from their employer on the pretext that they were paying a supplier when in fact they were awarding themselves bonuses, a Harare magistrate heard yesterday. The trio are Abel Jere (54) employed as the managing director and Edwin Kondo (49), the company’s marketing director, while Francis Chigwedere (55) is still employed as the technical director based at the Bulawayo factory.

They allegedly swindled the company out of $2 449 071,21 and nothing was recovered. Jere, Kondo and Chigwedere yesterday appeared before Mr Elijah Makomo charged with fraud.

They were remanded to March 7 on $500 bail each coupled with some conditions. As part of their bail conditions, they were ordered to report once a week at CID Serious Frauds, to reside at their given addresses and not to interfere with witnesses.

According to the State, Jere left Turnall Holdings in August 2014 while Kondo resigned in December 2012 and the offence is said to have been committed between 2010 and 2014.

Prosecuting, Mr Peter Kachirika alleged that sometime during the period extending from September 2010 to 2014, the trio in connivance with Elizabeth Mawukwa, who is still at large, and Robert Dube, who is now deceased, hatched a plan to defraud Turnall Holdings.

They allegedly held a meeting with Adam Muhita, the managing director of Auto Control (Pvt) Ltd and misrepresented to him that as management they had been authorised by Turnall Holdings board of directors to access their bonuses through his company so that the rest of the employees would not know that they had been given bonuses.

It is the State’s case that Jere instructed Muhita to raise fictitious pro-forma invoices in the name of Auto Control purporting that Auto Control had provided services to Turnall Holdings.

On several occasions, Jere caused money to be transferred from his employer’s several banking accounts into Auto Control’s account held at Barclays Bank. As a result, Muhita would then withdraw the money on the instructions of Jere and give it to the accused persons.

Muhita allegedly made the person who collected the money to sign for it in his diary. They would share the money among themselves, the court heard.

Due to the accused persons’ conduct, Turnall lost a total of $2 449 071,21 and nothing was recovered. Meanwhile, four more suspected thieves yesterday appeared in court accused of stealing 17 000 litres of diesel from Econet Wireless Zimbabwe network base stations around Harare.

Sherpard Nyamukondiwa (42), Tinashe Sande (25), Silence Maiba (23) and Judah Tangwena (24) appeared before magistrate Mr Elijah Makomo.

They are facing charges of wilful damage to or interference with or theft of telecommunication lines and ap- paratus. They were remanded in custody to March 7.

This brings to eight the number of people who have appeared in court for stealing diesel from Econet Wireless Zimbabwe network base stations.

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