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Council tender scam backfires

by Staff reporter
23 Nov 2021 at 05:53hrs | Views
A Harare man has been jailed for two years for attempting to defraud Chitungwiza Municipality of US$119 000 in a tender scam.

Darlington Chirara was initially jailed for 36 months when he appeared before Harare magistrate Mr Nyasha Vhitorini who set aside 12 months of the jail term for five years on condition of good behaviour.

Paul Enest Mzenge Zhou, who was jointly charged with Chirara, was acquitted of the offence.

Sometime in May 2011, Chitungwiza Municipality flighted a tender in the local newspaper for procurement of a jet machine (high velocity cleaning machine) and submissions of bids were done on May 31 of the same year.

The tender was then awarded to Scotia Steel Company for the supply of the jet machine valued at US$119 113,50.

On 25 August 2011, Chitungwiza Municipality made an application for electronic funds transfer in the sum of US$59 560 to be transferred from Metropolitan Bank account number 0807001809416 into Scotia Steel's Stanbic bank account number 0222077012401.

The electronic transfer was not successful as Chitungwiza Municipality's account had insufficient funds.

Chirara, who owned Upset Investments Pvt Ltd, was also awarded a tender to supply a 20-tonne excavator and a three-tonne front end loader by Chitungwiza Municipality.

It was during that period that Chirara learnt of the failed contract between Chitungwiza Municipality and Scotia Steel. On April 23, 2015, Mavhunga and Associates, representing Scotia Steel, and Matsikidze and Mucheche representing Chitungwiza Municipality appeared at a pre-trial conference before Justice Mawadze.

The case was then referred for trial and lawyer Maxwell Mavhunga told Chirara to pay $3 500 deposit before trial commenced.

Chirara failed to pay and came with a letter on a Scotia Steel demanding the case file as he wanted to be represented by another lawyer.

It emerged that Chirara had already engaged Chikono, Moyo and Ngarava Legal Practitioners.

Mavhunga and Associates refused to surrender the case file demanding that Chirara pay the bill accumulated.

Mavhunga and Associates Legal Practitioners later withdrew from representing Chirara after he engaged the Law Society of Zimbabwe were paid $770 for the work done by Mavhunga and Associates Legal Practitioners.

The case was now at trial stage.

Mr Maxwell Mavhunga informed Matsikidze and Mucheche Associates and Chikono Moyo and Ngarava on the development.

In 2017, Chirara misrepresented facts to lawyer Mr Nicholas Chikono Moyo that he owned Scotia Steel Pvt Ltd and was one of directors who wanted to lodge a case against Chitungwiza Municipality.

Chirara introduced Paul Ernest Mzenge Zhou to Mr Chikono as the finance director for Scotia Steel after the death of the then finance director, Christopher Chiwara.

Using Scotia Steel's letterhead, Chirara fraudulently wrote minutes of a resolution purported to be from Scotia Steel authorising Paul Enest Mzenge Zhou to carry out mandates on litigation pertaining to the company.

On 7 November 2017, Scotia Steel received a notice of taxation letter from Mavhunga and Associates Legal Practitioners.

The letter alerted Scotia Steel Pvt Ltd that there was a case at the Harare High Court of Zimbabwe involving the complainant and Chitungwiza Municipality under case number HC 9156/14.

Source - The Herald
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