Nyore Madzianike Senior Court Reporter
A personal assistant to a Cabinet Minister allegedly swindled the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) of over 19 000 litres of fuel and a vehicle after misrepresenting that his boss needed to visit cyclone Idai-hit areas.
Cephas Chiwetu, who was employed as personal assistant to Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza, got the fuel and a Ford Ranger on the pretext that the minister needed to visit Chimanimani and Chipinge many times, converting the fuel to personal use.
Chiwetu appeared in court last Thursday charged with defrauding Zinara of 19 248 litres of fuel and abusing a Ford Ranger.
He appeared before Harare regional magistrate Mr Hoseah Mujaya facing charges of fraud and criminal abuse of office as a public officer.
Chiwetu was not asked to plead and was released on $3 000 bail.
According to the State, Chiwetu’s duties involved liaising with the principal executive assistant or private secretary pertaining to the minister’s diary.
He was also said to be responsible for accompanying the minister to his constituency, taking care of his belongings, coordinating with his aides and doing some of his errands.
It is the State’s case that between March 26 to May 31, 2019, Chiwetu acted contrary to and inconsistently with his duties as a public officer by originating requests for fuel purporting that Minister Matiza needed fuel for his trips to Cyclone Idai-damaged places.
The court heard that during the time he requested the fuel from Zinara, he was fully aware that Minister Matiza was receiving fuel from his ministry.
It is alleged that Zinara lost $65 925 in fuel reportedly requested by Chiwetu.