cuffsTendai Rupapa Seniour Court Reporter
Eight officials from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development were arrested on allegations of attempting to swindle their employer of $240 000 through underhand dealings.Shorai Kamuto (28) an accountant, Gift Makura (43) chief accountant and acting deputy accountant general,Gift Gumbira (58) appeared in court yesterday charged with fraud while their accomplices Tawanda Mawundike, Macdonald Matowa, Malvin Mutsvangiri, Winnet Kunonga and Brian Nyazamba are already on remand facing similar charges. The magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe remanded the trio in custody to today for bail ruling.
They are being represented by Mrs Rekai Maphosa of Maphosa, Ndomene and Maramba legal practitioners.

The gang reportedly misled the Ministry that they wanted to use the money to pay the ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development for road maintenance on the Harare-Masvingo highway project which had been done by Stanax Enterprises fully knowing that no such services had been rendered by the said company.

The prosecutor, Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa alleges that sometime in June last year, the gang hatched a plan to defraud their employer.

Pursuant to their plan, it is alleged Mawundike fraudulently and without approval from the director ofbudgets released $240 000 to the ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development through the general ledger system on the pretext that it was payment for road maintenance on the Harare-Masvingo highway project.

According to the State no such services had been rendered by Stanax Enterprises.

Matowa allegedly, unlawfully raised an invoice purporting to be from Stanax Enterprises which he referred to Mutsvangiri who then posted it to Kunonga.

Kunonga signed the payment request letter for the ministry of Finance to release $240 000 into the paymaster general’s account. On June 11, Kamuto compiled a payment voucher for the said money and later referred the voucher to Nyazamba who then forwarded it to Makura.

Makura allegedly signed the payment voucher and did the payment transfer of funds which were finally signed for by Gumbira.

The offence came to light on June 12 when the ministry of Finance and Economic Development’s economist Mr Samuel Phiri was making follow-ups with the accountant general’s department on the progress for a payment of $240 800 to CMED for the purchase of vehicles for the 34th SADC summit.

Mr Phiri was advised that the funds could not be processed since the Ministry of Transport had presented payment request in excess of the amount allocated by Treasury. Investigations were carried out and it was discovered that the request was fraudulently presented resulting in the cancellation of the $240 000 payment.

Another eight officials from the ministry of Finance are also on remand on allegations of swindling the ministry of close to $800 000.