Trio faces $500k fraud charge

Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
A senior employee with the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishop’s Conference (ZCBC) allegedly connived with two other workmates and swindled their employer of more than US$500 000 which was meant for the vulnerable and needy communities. Cornelius Hamadziripi (49) was employed as the national director in CARITAS Zimbabwe national office and his duties included overseeing the smooth running of the department.

CARITAS is a department maintained by Catholic churches worldwide and its mandate is to provide humanitarian aid to vulnerable and needy communities using donor funds.

Hamadziripi yesterday appeared in court before magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe charged with fraud and was remanded to August 15 on US$200 bail with the State’s consent.

As part of his bail conditions, Hamadziripi was ordered to surrender his passport, to report once a week to the police and not to interfere with investigations and witnesses.

His accomplices Dadirai Nyamashuka and Wonder Mufunda are still at large.
Prosecutor Miss Sharon Mashavira alleged that sometime in 2009, Hamadziripi, Nyamashuka and Mufunda awarded themselves advance salaries.
Pursuant to their plan, it is alleged that during the period between January 5, 2009 and February 7 this year, they paid themselves a total of US$132 562  in advance salaries.

They did not pay back the money as per the company’s policy and instead they wrote off the debt.
During the same period, the trio withdrew a total of US$156 013 from the company’s Stanbic Bank account purportedly to boost the petty cash account, but instead they converted it to their own use, the court heard.

Again sometime last year, the trio received US$30 400 from an overseas donor meant to assist victims of politically-motivated violence.
According to the State, there were no claims warranting the release of the funds and their employer directed them to transfer the whole amount back to the donor, but Hamadziripi only remitted US$4 999 and failed to account for the balance.

ZCBC engaged auditors and it was revealed that the trio manipulated the whole system on movement of funds from donors to the beneficiaries.
They allegedly created fictitious claims, resulting in the complainant being prejudiced of US$562 869.

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