Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
Three Navistar Insurance Brokers bosses who were acquitted of defrauding Air Zimbabwe of $796 079 in an alleged insurance scam, are not yet off-the-hook as the National Prosecuting Authority last week filed its appeal papers at the High Court.
The NPA wants the acquittal of Givemore Nderere (46), Vukile Hlupo (46) and Orten Mawire (61) quashed on the basis that the trial magistrate erred in finding them not guilty.
It was the State’s case that the trio connived with the then Air Zimbabwe bosses Peter Chikumba and Grace Pfumbidzayi, to defraud the national airline by inflating aviation insurance premiums.
The group, it was alleged, presented several inflated debit notes to the airline, leading to payment of aviation insurance premiums last year.
Harare regional magistrate Mr Noel Mupeiwa, cleared the three of any wrongdoing, a development that did not go down well with the prosecution. Pfumbidzayi and Chikumba, were convicted of criminal abuse of office and jailed seven years each.
Head of Economic Crimes in the NPA, chief law officer Mr Chris Mutangadura, on Thursday filed a chamber application at the High Court seeking leave to appeal against the acquittal of the trio.
In the application, Mr Mutangadura argued that the three were likely to be convicted on appeal by the High Court.
He argued that the appeal, if accepted, had high prospects of success.
“Two High Court judges will certainly confirm the position of law on fraud and conclude that the acts of the accused persons in their personal capacities demonstrated a common purpose to misrepresent facts to Air Zimbabwe Holdings Pvt Ltd thereby inducing the complainant to act upon such misrepresentation to its actual prejudice ….
“Alternatively, the act by Navistar of converting the annual premiums paid to it by Air Zimbabwe Holdings for onward transmission to Altfin Insurance as conceded by the accused persons during trial, would entitle the court a quo to convict the three accused persons of theft in their personal capacities under Section 277 (3) of the Criminal Law Code,” reads part of Mr Mutangadura’s affidavit.
Mr Mutangadura argued that the three were guilty of fraud and the High Court should convict them and refer the matter back to the magistrate for sentencing.
Magistrate Mr Mupeiwa acquitted the three saying the State had failed to prove a case against them.