Air Zimbabwe Managers Indicted In $10m Insurance Scam

VENTURES AFRICA – A board which runs the state-owned Air Zimbabwe has called for the arrest of more senior managers of the airline implicated in the aviation insurance scam involving more than $10 million.

Three other Air Zimbabwe senior managers, including company secretary Grace Pfumbidzayi, general manager Innocent Mavhunga and his predecessor Peter Chikumba had earlier in the year been arrested and charged with defrauding the Zimbabwe national airline.

The latest report by Air Zimbabwe’s auditors BCA Forensic Audit Services however recommended that criminal charges be preferred against five more managers – Acting General Manager Norbert Machingura, former General Manager Finance and Corporate Services Oswell Matore, Finance and Administration Manager Patience Tichagwa and General Manger Human Resources Oswald Madziwa.

“In light of the amounts which Air Zimbabwe lost as a result of fraudulent transactions and in view of the need to trace how the funds were applied and assets purchased using proceeds from fraudulent transactions, consideration should be made to specify the following parties so that investigations can be carried out in terms of the prevention of Corruption Act,” the audit report said.

Board Chairman Valentine Sinamane said the national airline was working on the audit recommendations, which called for the arrest and investigations of managers.

The airline had in January 2012 been placed judicial management after it ceased operation due to financial constraints. A revival attempt failed as pilots refused to resume domestic services, with unpaid salaries and allowances amounting to more than $35 million. The government announced that Air Zimbabwe would be grounded indefinitely on 24 February 2012.

In March the same year, the government of Zimbabwe established Air Zimbabwe Private Limited as the new owner of the carrier after disbanding the airline’s former parastatal owner Air Zimbabwe Holdings, and absorbing a $150 million debt. The airline resumed flying on a continuous basis in early May 2012.

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