Former Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) chief executive officer Frank Chitukutuku appeared in court yesterday charged with swindling $3 million from the parastatal.
He is being charged in his personal capacity. He appeared in court together with Zinara engineer Givemore Tendai Kufa (34) and former finance director Thomas Mutizhe (39).
Former boss for women’s soccer Miriam Sibanda is also implicated. She is one of the directors of Notify Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd, which is in the business of civil works and construction.
The company was allegedly fraudulently awarded a tender to rehabilitate Illitshe Road in Matabeleland North Province.
Zinara paid the firm for work not done. Chitukutuku, Kufa, Mutizhe and Sibanda appeared before magistrate Ms Josephine Sande charged with fraud.
The prosecution had proposed that they each pay $2 000 bail, but the court reduced the amount to $1 000. As part of their bail conditions, the gang was ordered to report once a week to the police, surrender their passports and not to interfere with witnesses.
They were represented by Messrs Admire Rubaya, Jonasi Dondo and Blessing Mudhara. The prosecutor, Ms Linda Gadzikwa alleges that sometime in August 2010, the four acting in connivance with Patson Mlilo, the chief executive for Bubi and Collen Moyo the chief executive of Umuguza rural district councils, hatched a plan to defraud Zinara. Mlilo and Moyo, who are still at large, fraudulently awarded a tender to Notify Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd to rehabilitate 31km of Illitshe road.
It is a gravel road linking Umguza and Bubi. As part of the tender, the company was supposed to construct a six span bridge across Umguza River at a cost of $3,5 million.
No work was done by the shelf company, but Mlilo and Moyo raised fake certificates of work done to facilitate payment of claims raised by Notify Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd. The claims, the court heard, were forwarded to Zinara head office and Kufa allegedly confirmed and certified that the job had been completed.
The State further alleged that Chitukutuku then authorised Mutizhe to transfer the money into Notify Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd’s bank account. In May 2012, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission got a tip-off and investigated the matter.
When the accused persons got wind of the investigations, Mlilo and Moyo looked for manpower and equipment. They tried to hurriedly do the work in a bid to cover up, but it was too late.
It is the State’s contention that Zinara lost $3,5 million to the accused persons.