Nyore Madzianike Senior Court Reporter
Two accounts officers with the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), who are facing allegations of swindling their employer of $306 135 by allegedly arranging payment for fake cleaning services, will be returning to work after Harare regional magistrate Mr Hoseah Mujaya removed a bail condition that barred them from visiting their workplace.
Peter Muchakazi and Kunofiwa Mervyn Madondo on Monday approached the court seeking variation of their bail conditions saying the Public Service Commission (PSC) had written letters instructing them to return to work or have their salaries cut.
The pair is facing charges of fraud with an alternative charge of criminal abuse of office.
Muchakazi and Madondo were ordered, as part of their bail conditions, not to visit Defence House unless they are accompanied by the investigating officer with Muchakazi paying $5 000 bail and Madondo $3 000 bail.
On Monday the two, through their lawyers Mrs Rekai Maphosa and Servious Kufandada, applied to have the bail conditions removed, to allow them to return to work as per the PSC letter.
“His employer said they will cease his salary and they are saying they were not involved in the matter. In fact, the employer is distancing himself from the case,” said Mrs Maphosa on behalf of Muchakazi.
Madondo, through his lawyer Mr Kufandada, accused the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) of failing to coordinate its stakeholders when investigating corruption cases saying the Public Service Commission had not sanctioned any disciplinary action against him.
“It says if he continued to be absent from work they were going to (stop) his salary. The Public Service Commission is distancing itself from the case.”
The State, led by Ms Netsai Mushayabasa, did not oppose the application.
Mr Mujaya ordered Muchakazi and Madondo to return to court today for their routine remand.
It is alleged that from March to June last year, the two connived to defraud the Ministry of Defence by lying that Defence House had received cleaning services from Maids on Wheels (Private) Limited when no such services had been awarded or rendered.
Muchakazi allegedly raised five fake invoices with a total value of $306 135 and originated loose minutes dated June 19, 2019 addressed to the director of finance and human resources.
Muchakazi then allegedly attached the five invoices to the minutes with instructions for payment of $306 135 for the cleaning services without attaching the required award-of-tender letter specifying the job done and signed by the chairman of the procurement management unit.
On June 20, 2019, Madondo, in pursuit of their common purpose, reportedly posted the payment request to the chief accountant who acted upon the misrepresented minutes and posted the documents to pay $306 135 into Maid on Wheels’ FBC account.
Investigations revealed that no requisition was raised by the procurement management unit for cleaning services and there was no tender awarded to Maid on Wheels.
Meanwhile, the hearing of Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi’s appeal against Harare businessman Wicknell Chivhayo’s acquittal in a $5,6 million fraud case against Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPS) has been postponed to March 2, writes Yeukai Karengezheka.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)wrote a letter advising Chivayo’s lawyers of the development.
“Kindly take note that the hearing of this matter has been moved to March 2, 2020 at 9:30am. We apologise for any inconvenience caused,” read the letter from the NPA to Chivayo’s lawyers Advocates Sylvester Hashiti and Lewis Uriri.
Intratrek Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd and its director Chivayo were facing fraud charges emanating from a contract entered into by the two parties in 2015.
The appeal by the State at the Supreme Court is a reaction to the ruling made in March last year by High Court judge Justice Owen Tagu, who acquitted Intratrek and Chivayo of all fraud charges over ZPC’s Gwanda solar project.
He said the charges, which arose from a civil dispute and were incapable of being resolved through the criminal justice system, were contrived and properly excepted to.
He said if the courts allowed such prosecutions to occur, no investor would open themselves to the extreme exigencies of having the fate of their investment determined by a criminal court.
Prior, Chivayo had in the lower court attempted to quash the charges through an application for exception, which was thrown out by magistrate Mr Lazini Ncube.