Fungai Lupande Court Reporter—
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Professor Francis Gudyanga, is set to testify in the trial of two Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) executives accused of siphoning over half a million dollars from their em- ployer.
Prof Gudyanga is the complainant in the matter against MMCZ acting general manager Richard Chingodza (41) and the company’s acting deputy general manager (finance and administration), Hannan Tongai Chitate (35).
Chingodza and Chitate are accused of swindling the company of $625 226,88 after awarding themselves unapproved allowances.
They are represented by lawyer Mr Admire Rubaya.
The pair pleaded not guilty to fraud or alternatively criminal abuse of office as public officers and theft charges.
In his defence, Chingodza said he never connived with Chitate.
“The amounts he received from MMCZ were lawful in terms of his contract and board-approved policies,” said Mr Rubaya. “The complainant, a sophisticated professor, having approved the requests, feigns being defrauded in order to sanitise his own indis- cretions.
“No independent forensic audit was ordered for fairness. The complainant did not confirm accused’s substantive appointment, but raised the charges to navigate the potential labour crisis.”
Chitate told the court that never took any money from the company without approval from his superiors.
Prosecutor Mrs Molyn Mutamangira-Mavhondo told the court that the MMCZ reporting structure was such that the general manager, who is the head of the corporation, reports directly to the MMCZ board, which is chaired by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
The deputy general manager (finance and administration) reports to the general manager, while the permanent secretary implements MMCZ policies in liaison with the board.
All MMCZ employees require approval from their superiors whenever they apply for loans and the general manager is required to seek approval from the board chairperson on all requests.
The deputy general manager’s applications are approved by the general manager in consultation with the board chairperson.
Contrary to their duties and without following the procedure, Chingodza and Chitate acting in connivance, the State alleged, fraudulently awarded themselves allowances and loans amounting to $625 226,88 over a period extending June 2013 to April this year.
Chingodza, the court heard, benefited $390 985, which he awarded himself on various occasions as an acting allowance, medium-term loan, education loan, long- service award and backpay.
Chitate reportedly pocketed $234 241 on the pretext it was for his education, acting allowance and backpay.
Article Source: The Herald