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War vets lose ZWL$300m to soldiers

by Staff reporter
20 Feb 2024 at 05:04hrs | Views
TWO Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) officers appeared before Harare magistrate Dennis Mangosi yesterday accused of defrauding the War Veterans ministry of close to ZWL$300 million.

Nzuzo Tshuma (34) and Dominic Musarurwa (35), however, denied the allegations and were remanded in custody to today for bail ruling.

The duo was represented by lawyers George Manokore and Chipo Mashura .

The investigating officer Hillary Mazheteke told the court that there is a preliminary audit report dating back to January 2020 linking the accused to the crime.

He said the police have bank statements indicating some of the stolen funds.

The investigation officer said the accused worked with two accomplices, also former ZNA members who are still at large.

"The audit report highlights that there is a certain batch of applications from beneficiaries of the Veterans ministry which was verified and processed by the accused persons," the court heard.

Mazheteke confirmed that over ZWL$200 million was transferred to the accused person accounts.

Defence counsel George Manokore argued during cross examination that the accused persons never attempted to flee even after Special Investigations Branch at the army briefed his clients about the allegations.

Manokore argued that the accused persons never demonstrated any chances of interference during and after their arrest. The defence submitted that the two soldiers were seconded to the War Veterans ministry for the purpose of security, not finance.

According to court papers, the ministry has a constitutional mandate to pay statutory benefits, including school fees to Veterans of the Liberation Struggle and their dependants.

Tshuma was seconded from ZNA to Ministry of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Affairs as an assistant accountant responsible for preparing the final list of beneficiaries to be forwarded to the chief accountant for payment.

Musarurwa was also seconded from the ZNA to the Veterans ministry as a data capture official.

The duo, acting in connivance, allegedly defrauded the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Affairs ministry from January 2020 to September 2023 by creating ghost schools and beneficiaries which they used to siphon money from the ministry.

"The duo would forward such to the chief accountant for payment purporting that they are real beneficiaries," the court heard.

The offence was discovered following an audit unearthed that the duo during the alleged period stole money amounting to ZWL$268 648 594.

Source - newsday
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