FOUR Finance ministry employees appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court last Saturday charged with swindling government of over $720 000, but opted for the court process because he had respect for the rule of law.

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Shiri told presiding magistrate Milton Serima that he decided to pursue the matter through the courts so that he could get redress after Hemmingworth Cartwright (Private) Limited chief executive Brian Tarisai Kambasha had allegedly duped him.

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Shiri was responding to claims by Kambasha’s lawyer, Tazorora Musarurwa, that he was abusing his power as head of the Air Force by pursuing a civil matter through a criminal process.

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“I have so much power and I could have abused it and not come here (to court). But I chose the court process because I am also a Zimbabwean and if I am wronged I must approach the courts for redress,” he said. “If I had sent the soldiers from the Air Force to come after him, then I would have abused my office.”

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He said although he was the head of the Air Force, he was also entitled to seeking justice under the law and that was the reason why he did not deal with the matter in his office.

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Kambasha, who denied the charge of theft of trust property, told the court through his lawyer that he had not stolen Shiri’s money, but there was a delay in having the solar system installed due to unforeseen additional expenses after failing to secure investors.

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Led by prosecutor George Manokore, Shiri, however, told the court that the agreement had no provision for securing investors, but simply stated that he would have the system installed at his farm at 60% discount because it was going to be used to market Hemmingworth Cartwright products in Zimbabwe.

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He said in April 2013, he was approached by the accused person who told him the 600KVA system would be installed in three phases of 100KVA, for which he had to pay $50 125 and 200KVA and 300KVA for which he would pay a $250 625.

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Shiri said on June 7 of the same year, they agreed that the plant would be mounted within 12 weeks of payment.

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He further told the court that he paid Kambasha the money in three instalments of $20 000, $30 000 and $125.

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Kambasha only mounted metal stands for the plant and allegedly converted the balance to his own use.

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He allegedly gave several excuses for failing to install
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The matter continues on Friday