Chitungwiza scammed of $120 000

CHITUNGWIZA Municipality was last year fleeced of almost $120 000 after a suspected fraudster took advantage of a deal left hanging to approach the High Court and force payment.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA/DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Dalington Chirara (43) of Eastlea, Harare, is now facing fraud charges after he allegedly gathered the courage to even engage lawyers to commit the offence.

According to State papers, prepared by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, the Chitungwiza Municipality in May 2011 tendered a notice for the procurement of a jet machine (high velocity cleaning machine).

Bids were submitted and the tender for the supply of the machine valued at $119 113,50 was processed and awarded to Scotia Steel Company.

“On August 25, 2011, the council made an application for electronic funds in the sum of $59 560 to be transferred from Metropolitan Bank of Zimbabwe Limited account number 0807001809416 into Scotia Steel’s bank account number 0222077012401, Stanbic Southerton (branch). The electronic transfer was not successfully done and both parties regarded it as a failed deal and no further action was taken against Chitungwiza Municipality,” documents show.

It is argued that Chirara got wind of the incomplete deal and pounced.

“Sometime during the year 2014, the accused person got to know about the tender awarded to Scotia Steel and how Chitungwiza Municipality failed to meet the conditions of the contract. He then instructed Mavhunga and Associates law firm and later on Ngarava, Moyo and Chikono Legal Practitioners to institute legal proceedings for breach of contract against Chitungwiza Municipality.

“His accomplice, Paul Ernest Mzenge Zhou, represented Scotia Steel, purporting to be the company’s finance director,” the State claims.

The High Court case HC9156/14 was heard and Chitungwiza was reportedly ordered to pay $119 113,50, including costs of lawsuit to Scotia Steel through an order issued by Justice Mary-Zimba Dube on November 21 last year.

“The real Scotia Steel (only) knew about the High Court case through a Herald article publicised on December 6, 2017.

“…as a result, Scotia Steel informed Chitungwiza Municipality through its legal practitioners Gill, Godlonton and Gerrans, that it did not institute legal proceedings against Chitungwiza Municipality. This resulted in a fraud case reported to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission by Chitungwiza Municipality,” it is alleged.

The satellite town is said to have suffered a potential prejudice of $119 113,50 as a result of the accused person’s action.

Chirara is currently out on $100 bail and reporting to Highlands Police once every month.

Meanwhile, Zhou (50) was yesterday not asked to plead when he appeared before magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa, who remanded him to October 16 on $200 bail.

Sebastian Mutizirwa appeared for the State.