4 anti-corruption bosses suspended

CorruptionTakunda Maodza Assistant News Editor—
THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has suspended four managers for allegedly engaging in corrupt activities at an agency set up to combat graft.The Herald is reliably informed that ZACC suspended Sukai Tongogara; General Manager Investigations, Christopher Chisango; General Manager Finance, Administration and Human Resources, Edwin Mubataripi; General Manager, Prevention and Advocacy and Gibson Mangwiro; Chief Accountant/Manager Finance.

The quartet was reportedly suspended a week ago, although The Herald was unable to establish the period and conditions of the suspensions. Reliable sources told The Herald that the quartet was being linked to corrupt activities involving former ZACC chief executive Ngonidzashe Gumbo.

Gumbo, a former Senior Assistant Commissioner in the Zimbabwe Republic Police, was jailed for two years last year for defrauding the commission of $435 000. Gumbo bought offices to be used by the commission in Mt Pleasant, Harare, using Government funds, but registered the property in the name of a company he jointly owned with four of his subordinates.

The State proved that in 2010, ZACC approached the Home Affairs Ministry seeking alternative accommodation when their landlords were about to evict them. The ministry instructed Gumbo to look for alternative property and he identified 872 Betterment Close in Mt Pleasant that belonged to Diane Spalletah.

Gumbo then requested $1 680 000 from the ministry to buy the property and Government deposited $1,7 million into a ZACC account. He instructed his subordinates Tongogara, Mubataripi, Chisango and Mangwiro to form a shelf company called Property Mortgage where they became directors with equal shares.

A ZACC administration and human resources manager deposited the $1 680 000 into a CBZ account for Perpetual Properties trust account. It is believed Gumbo’s daughter was an administrator for Perpetual Properties and is suspected to have carried out the transactions.

The property was bought for $1.2 million, which was fully paid to the owner, Spalletah, by Perpetual Properties. Perpetual Properties deducted their commission amounting to $44 500, leaving a balance of $435 500. The court heard that $160 000 was used for the purchase of a property owned by Poptechnologies where Gumbo and Popatlal Samir are directors.

A person called Da Silva was given $100 000, while Samir received $95 000. Gumbo is said to have allocated $80 000 for renovations.” ZACC chairman Mr Job Wabira would neither deny nor confirm the suspensions when contacted by The Herald. “The matter is not for newspapers,” he said.

When asked whether the four were reporting for duty, he said: “They are not for now.” The Herald also sought Mr Chisango’s comment over the matter and he promised to call later. He never did. When The Herald phoned him again, a man who answered his phone claimed “he has left the phone in my custody and I will relay the message to him”.

Ms Tongogara denied being suspended although sources at the anti-graft body confirmed she was not reporting for work. “Get in touch with acting ZACC secretary (Silas) Pondo,” said Mr Mubataripi when The Herald sought his comment.

When contacted for a comment over the matter on Friday last week, Mr Pondo said: “I have no authority to make any statement. I have to consult the commission first. Get in touch with me on Monday (yesterday),” he said. Yesterday Mr Pondo all but confirmed the suspension.

“I have been talking to the chair about what you have been saying. Something is being worked out and I have nothing more to comment.”

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