Farirai Machivenyika and Lovemore Meya—
Highfield National Assembly representative Cde Psychology Maziwisa and former ZBC News anchor Oscar Pambuka were yesterday arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) for fraud and are expected to appear in court today. ZACC principal public relations officer Ms Phyllis Chikundura confirmed the pair’s arrest.
“Maziwisa and Pambuka have been arrested today (yesterday) and are being detained at Avondale Police Station. They are expected to appear in Court 6 tomorrow (today),” said Ms Chikundura.
The two are facing charges of fraud involving $12 500 actual prejudice paid to them and $36 000 potential prejudice. This was after they wanted to offer public relations consultancy services to Zimbabwe Power Company through former Energy and Power Development Minister Undenge (Dr Samuel).
“They were given a contract to offer the services to Zesa yet it had a fully-fledged PR department. The pair was paid $12 500 and never returned it. They were also supposed to get a further $36 000, which was not given to them following an outcry.”
The pair’s lawyer Mr Jonathan Samukange said: “I can confirm their arrest. Actually, I accompanied them to ZACC where they were requested to come for interviews. They were arrested and were detained. They will appear in court tomorrow (today) for remand purposes. On the charges they are facing, I cannot comment. Just wait (for) when they appear in court.” ZACC commissioner in charge of investigations Mr Goodson Nguni also confirmed the arrests, but could not provide details. I can confirm that they have been arrested, but talk to their lawyer for further information,” he said.
Cde Maziwisa and Mr Pambuka are directors of public relations firm, Fruitful Communications, that was hand-picked last year by Zesa Holdings to do public relations work for the power utility at the behest of former Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Samuel Undenge.
The two were hired despite the fact that Zesa Holdings has a fully fledged public relations department whose personnel are still on its payroll. The arrangement resulted in the power utility losing thousands of dollars as Zesa had to pay Fruitful Communications consultations fees at the same time paying its employees’ salaries.
Dr Undenge has since been arrested for abuse of office and is out on bail. The State alleges that on January 14, 2016, he gave a directive to Zimbabwe Power Company to engage Fruitful Communications without going to tender. Fruitful Communications was supposed to disseminate information on all ZimAsset-based projects. The company is alleged to have fraudulently invoiced $12 650 to ZPC, which it was paid without doing any work.