Kuwaza autopsy set for today

Mr Kuwaza

Mr Kuwaza

Margaret Matibiri Herald Reporter
An autopsy for former State Procurement Board (SPB) chairperson Charles Tawonerera Kuwaza, who, according to police sources, committed suicide on Tuesday after he reportedly jumped from the 9th floor of a Harare building, is expected to be held today at a local hospital. Kuwaza reportedly leapt to his death from Club Chambers at the corner of Third Street and Nelson Mandela Avenue.

It is believed that he had gone into the building to collect documents from his office to support his defence in a matter before the courts.

Kuwaza was facing five counts of corruption involving over $1 million and ZW$2,5 billion.

He was freed on $2 000 bail on March 24.

Police sources close to the investigations yesterday said they were treating the matter as a suicide case since no foul play was being suspected.

“We are treating the matter as a suicide case since no foul play is suspected,” the source said.

When The Herald visited Kuwaza’s house in Borrowdale, one of his relatives who was identified as a nephew, said they wanted privacy as they were still consulting.

“My aunt who is supposed to be a family spokesperson is not here at the moment,” he said.

A family friend also confirmed that a post-mortem for Kuwaza was expected to be conducted today.

“Post-mortems are normally conducted on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” he said. “We hope that it will be conducted tomorrow (today).”

Mourners are gathered at 88 Quinnington Road, Borrowdale.

On Tuesday, the former SPB boss went into his office at around 11am and he left his wife who had accompanied him in the family car.

The wife made a follow-up about 40 minutes later after members of the public indicated that a man had apparently committed suicide.

She discovered her husband’s lifeless body crushed on the tarmac.

Sources close to the family said Kuwaza did not take lightly his arrest on corruption charges.

It is reported that when he was arrested he got stressed while in police custody and fell sick.

He was then put on life support and had to be remanded from his hospital bed.

Kuwaza was facing one count of theft, two counts of fraud and two counts of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer.

On count one, he allegedly received on behalf of the SPB a donation of a Toyota Landcruiser Prado valued at $120 000 from the Reserve Bank of Zim- babwe.

Instead of handing over the vehicle to the bSPB, he reportedly converted it to his personal use.

On count two, being a public officer, he allegedly acted contrary to his duties by ordering SPB’s payroll officers not to deduct Pay As You Earn from his taxable benefits.

This was done without proof of an appropriate tax directive from Zimra, resulting in the tax collector garnishing SPB’s accounts a total of $869 820 to recover the prejudice for untaxed benefits.

Prior to his appointment as SPB boss, Kuwaza served as Permanent Secretary for Finance and Economic Development, as well as that of the Ministry of Defence between 1994 and 2000.

He was at the helm of the SPB as chairperson from 2000, but was sacked from the State procurement agency in November 2015 after Government resolved not to renew his contract and ordered an audit into the board’s operations.

The former SPB boss faced arrest in 2015 after he was reported to the police for alleged criminal abuse of office during his tenure bordering on tax evasion and unauthorised allowances.

He once allegedly refused to comply with the directives of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy after he refused to provide information that the committee required in exercising its oversight role.

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