Five Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) executives, who were last year arrested for criminal abuse of office, have been found not guilty and acquitted.
Messrs Precious Murove (director administration and human resources), Simon Taranhike (finance director), Shadreck Matengabadza (finance manager), Stephen Matute (accountant) and Givemore Tendai Kufa (regional engineer) were charged with criminal abuse of office.
They were accused of fraudulently engaging third party companies to source foreign currency on the informal market on behalf of Zinara.
The prosecution accused the executives of transferring $2 940 558 into the bank accounts of Access Finance Private Limited, Grayriver Private Limited and Caudless Trading without authority of the Zinara board of directors.
Defence lawyer Ms Rekai Maphosa of Maphosa & Ndomene Legal Practitioners convinced the court that her clients were innocent.
High Court judge, Justice Amy Tsanga on April 24 this year, cleared the five of any wrongdoing after a full trial.
“All five accused persons are found not guilty of abuse of public office in terms of Section 174 of the Criminal Code and are acquitted,” ruled Justice Tsanga.
“We are in no doubt that they acted with the full knowledge of their CEO Mrs Nancy Masiiwa, whose responsibility it was to bring the issue to the full board.
“We were satisfied that the finance director did report to the CEO both in her capacity as CEO of Zinara and her concomitant position in Ifralink about the payments that were made which she knew about . . .
“It was a simple lie that she was not aware of what was happening,” ruled Justice Tsanga.
“There is no basis upon which the accused persons should be held to be the ones responsible when what they did was with the full blessings of their ultimate superior under the circumstances where they were acting in good faith.
“Targeting juniors as scapegoats in an alleged fight against corruption lends itself to selective justice and cannot be countenanced,” the judge ruled.
The court heard that sometime in 2011, Zinara was given a loan of $206 million by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) for the construction and rehabilitation of the 823km long Plumtree-Mutare Highway.
NMB Bank was nominated by DBSA to facilitate the loan repayment on a quarterly basis and all revenue in hard currency collected from Zinara’s operation was given to NMB Bank which would remit to DBSA.