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Zinara boss in court for transferring Grace Mugabe linked employees

by Staff reporter
08 Dec 2020 at 06:38hrs | Views
ZINARA chief executive officer Nkosinathi Ncube was yesterday arraigned before Harare magistrate Trynos Wutawashe on allegations of victimising and transferring four subordinates that are linked to Grace Mugabe and Nicholas Goche who had been interviewed by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) over graft in the parastatal.

Ncube was released on $10 000 bail and ordered to report once every week at Highlands Police Station.

Magistrate Wutawashe rapped the anti-corruption guidance in the country saying it allowed accused persons to continue working at the organisations where they allegedly committed crimes.

"I am disappointed that the same people who are arrested for committing corrupt activities continue going to work, victimising state witnesses and no disciplinary action is taken against them," Wutawashe said.

"This is a serious anomaly on how corruption cases are being dealt with. If people are serious about fighting corruption, why is it that someone who was investigated for an offence in October is still formally employed at that same organisation yet were are now in December? This rot must be dealt with," he said.

Ncube allegedly connived with two other Zinara senior officials, who are on bail for obstructing and defeating the course of justice by transferring employees who had co-operated with Zacc on investigating the organisation. Adam Zvandasara, the finance director and Gilfern Moyo, the human resources administration director, were last week freed on $10000 bail each.

Ncube, who is represented by Oscar Tafadzwa Gasva of Mbano, Gasva and Partners, was not asked to plead when he appeared before Wutawashe.

The State, led by prosecutor Teddy Kamuriwo alleges that between October 7 and 26, 2020, Ncube transferred Jeremiah Singende, Munyaradzi Tongowona, Tonderai Marange and Nathaniel Straus Tembo to toll gates from head office while Zacc was still carrying out investigations on alleged corruption within Zinara.

It is also alleged that Ncube, in connivance with Zvandasara and Moyo, interrogated the complainant Tembo on what he had told Zacc during the interviews.

Ncube was remanded to December 17, 2020.

The Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) allegedly lost US$21 000 ($2 million) to a syndicate of employees working in its cash office through misrepresentation of money paid for fuel levies. The levy is only payable in US dollars.

According to sources, the rogue employees are said to be linked to either Grace Mugabe or Robert Mugabe era Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Nicholas Goche.

The matter came to light on November 7 when Zinara finance director Mr Adam Zvandasara requested Mr Chenjerayi Chibatamoto who is a financial controller to verify purported fuel levy receipts submitted by a company called PurOil Private Limited.

Following the checks, Mr Chibatamoto noticed anomalies in the manner the transactions were captured in its Sage Pastel Accounting system.

"Preliminary internal investigations revealed that on October 21, 2020 Mr Marlon Chikomo the finance executive of PurOil visited Zinara head office and paid US$15 840 being fuel levy for 264 000 litres of petrol.

Mr Chikomo said he was served by a male cashier who gave him an electronic receipt number REC33816 which he was supposed to use to obtain a Direct Fuel Import Licence.

"A check in the Zinara Pastel Accounting System revealed that the receipt submitted by PurOil was not recorded in the system. Instead the receipt number reflects in the system as belonging to Westemead Pvt Limited which allegedly paid US$80 for fuel levy.

"However, a further search for the transactions in the accounting system revealed that both the US$15 840 and US$80 were not recorded as fuel levy collections for October 21, 2020, and could not be traced to the Zinara bank statements," reads part of Zinara's statement to police.

The investigations also noted that the office bank record of October 21, which was supposed to be signed by five employees in the cash office (names supplied) and attached to the daily transactional report was missing.

Further investigations showed that PurOil paid US$5 280 on November 12 for the fuel levy for importation of 88 000 litres but the transaction was not recorded in the accounting system.

Investigations showed that receipts issued to the company belonged to one Zenda valued at $20 and was for prepaid tolling cards. The transaction was also not captured in the daily cash office banking records for the day. National ZRP spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed investigations into the matter.

"The ZRP can confirm receiving a report on the alleged fraud at the Zinara cash office," he said.

Meanwhile, Zinara also reported Mr Jeremia Singende, who also works in the cash office, to the police for allegedly using fake sick leave notes fraudulently obtained from Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals to absent himself from duty.

A letter from Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals signed by its acting clinical director Dr Tapiwa Magure on November 12, 2020, confirmed that a sick note presented by Mr Singende was fake and corruptly obtained.

Former Cabinet Minister, Nicholas Goche's has been sucked in the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) saga that saw the parastatal losing millions of dollars through corporate governance malpractices between 2010 and 2014.

The names of former ZINARA CEO, Frank Chitukutuku and former Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Nicholas Goche featured prominently during the parastatal's public hearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development in Harare this Monday.

Zinara is said to have lost over US$40 million in dubious payments approved by Chitukutuku. The payments were for substandard work, overpayment for projects without board approval, flouting tender procedures, hand-picking firms, payment for incomplete work and awarding projects to companies linked to a specific individual. The former Chief Executive Officer is alleged to have unilaterally paid contractors without board approval.

Chairperson of the committee, Honourable Oscar Gorerino interrogated a lot of issues surrounding the working relationship between Chitukutuku and Goche, amid suspicion that the former Minister could have been aware of the alleged corporate governance malpractices at the parastatal.

ZINARA Board Chairperson, Engineer Michael Madanha said there is a possibility that Chitukutuku might have had the blessings of the former cabinet minister.

"Zinara is interested to know the power behind these shenanigans committed by the already fired Zinara executive headed by the then CEO, Mr Frank Chitukutuku, who was the accounting officer," said Eng Madanha.

It emerged during the hearing that some contractors were paid for work which was never done, while some companies were paid more than the quoted figures.

The committee also questioned why the parastatal continues to deal with companies which were fingered in the Grant Thornton audit report.

"We no longer deal directly with these contractors because we have now reverted to our core mandate of collecting and disbursement of funds," said Eng Madanha.

The Grant Thornton audit report revealed that more than half of the contracts valued at 71 million United States dollars were not honoured.

Of particular note is the fact that one of the contractors, Twalumba, was operating under different names which were not properly registered.

Source - newsday_online