Fungai Lupande Court Reporter
Secretary for Mines and Mining Development Professor Francis Gudyanga allegedly used money from the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) to pay for his irrigation equipment worth $40 000, the court heard yesterday.
This emerged during the ongoing trial of MMCZ acting general manager Richard Chingodza (41) and the company’s acting deputy general manager (finance and administration), Hannan Tongai Chitate (35).
The pair is accused of swindling MMCZ of $625 226, 88 after awarding themselves unapproved allowances. Answering questions during cross- examination from Chitate’s lawyer, Mr Admire Rubaya, Prof Gudyanga denied allegations that he stole $40 000.
He said: “I secured an irrigation system from Pedstock for $40 000 between September and October, 2016. The money is not fully paid and I was going to pay out of my tobacco produce.”
Mr Rubaya told the court that one of the directors of Pedstock, a Mr Dror, told Parliament that the money was fully paid. “So, MMCZ paid for you?” asked Mr Rubaya and Prof Gudyanga said he paid the money from his salary.
Mr Rubaya asked if Prof Gudyanga instructed Chingodza on September 8, 2015 to pay the Minerals and Border Control Unit.
Prof Gudyanga said it was true, but declined to comment further, saying it was classified information. “Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba denied doing business with Pedstock and distanced the police from the payment before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee?” quizzed Mr Ru- baya.
In response, Prof Gudyanga said they paid Pedstock for ultimate transmission to people doing business with the police. “I never said the money went to the Border Control Unit,” said Prof Gudyanga.
“So you processed payments based on lies?” asked Mr Rubaya and Prof Gudyanga declined to comment further. “You are not being fair to us, you say things that you want us to hear and when we probe you further you decline to answer,” complained Mr Rubaya.
The trial then hit a deadlock after prosecutor Mrs Molyn Mutamangira-Mavhondo submitted that the information being solicited by the defence was “classified”.
Mr Rubaya insisted that it was Prof Gudyanga who brought the matter before the court and the defence should not be declined an opportunity to probe the issues.
Presiding magistrate Mr Elijah Mujaya allowed the State to get an affidavit from the Minister of Mines and Mining Development regarding the security nature of the information in terms of the law.
It is alleged that contrary to their duties and without following the procedure, Chingodza and Chitate fraudulently awarded themselves allowances and loans amounting to $625 226,88 over a period extending from June 2013 to April last year.