BY CHARLES LAITON
Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo
The former minister was supposed to appear at the High Court yesterday to face fraud charges together with his former deputy Godfrey Gandawa, his (Moyo’s) personal assistant, Shepard Honzeri and Zimdef’s principal director of finance, Nicholas Mapute.
But the Prosecutor-General’s (PG’s) representative, Clemence Chimbari, told High Court judge, Justice Tawanda Chitapi that Moyo could not be located at his residence for purposes of serving him with indictment papers.
Chimbari then made an application for separation of trial, which the court granted and also withdrew charges against Zimdef’s chief executive officer and accounting officer, Fredrick Mandizvidza.
“Moyo could not be located at his residence for purposes of serving him with indictment papers . . . the State is also withdrawing charges against the third accused person [Mandizvidza],” he said, as the State moved to issue a warrant of apprehension against the ex-minister and Zanu PF legislator.
Investigators from the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) said they had engaged Interpol to help in the search for Moyo, who skipped the country following former President Robert Mugabe’s ouster last November.
However, by late yesterday, Moyo’s name was not on Interpol’s “wanted persons” list.
In December, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the government would seek Interpol’s assistance in bringing Moyo back into the country, but five months later, it seems the authorities have not made good on their threat.
“We have since issued him with a warrant of apprehension and we are working together with the ZRP.
“The said warrant was sent to Interpol,” a Zacc official, who declined to be identified, said, adding a copy of the warrant was at their offices.
Zacc head of investigations, Douglas Masiye confirmed the warrant was issued at the end of March this year.
According to court procedures, Moyo could not be issued with a warrant of arrest by the court since the court papers ordering him to appear before the judge for trial had not been served on him.
It is the State’s contention that Moyo and his co-suspects allegedly committed several offences sometime between November and December 2015.
Gandawa, according to the court papers, is alleged to have failed and/or neglected to ensure that the National Manpower Advisory Council was appointed to advise Zimdef trustees on the use of the government’s fund.
It is the State’s contention that Moyo was equally to blame, because, as a Zimdef trustee, he was also mandated to issue directives pertaining to the use of the funds on the advice of the National Manpower Advisory
Once the trial starts, the State is expected to lead evidence from 18 witnesses and also produce at least 19 copies of documentary evidence to support its case.
In respect of count one, Gandawa is alleged to have instructed one Richard Gotora to originate a memorandum purporting that his ministry required funding to purchase three-dimension printers for eight polytechnics and two industrial training colleges.
The State alleges, Gandawa singlehandedly recommended and approved the memorandum on the same day leading to the release of $95 000, which was paid to Wisebone Trading (Pvt) Ltd, owned by Walter Chasara, a relative of the former deputy minister.
Gandawa is alleged to have then instructed Chasara to transfer the $95 000 to his firm called Fuzzy Technologies (Pvt) Ltd, where he later made withdrawals.
During the same period, Moyo is said to have instructed Honzeri to source quotations and buy 173 bicycles, which he distributed in his Tsholotsho North constituency, where he was a Member of Parliament.
The State alleges no computers were purchased and delivered to the polytechnics.
In December 2015, the four men are also alleged to have connived and Honzeri originated a memorandum requesting $107 525 funding for the presidential computerisation programme.
The memorandum was then approved by Moyo on December 18, 2015.
The quotations for the computers, according to the court papers, were sourced by Gandawa from his company, Fuzzy Technologies, Wisebone Trading (Pvt) Ltd, Archmate and Great Exploits (Pvt) Ltd.
It is the State’s contention that the four men misrepresented to Zimdef’s accountant, Upenyu Gweme, that the ministry had requested for funding to purchase 170 computers.
The money was allegedly released and some of it was used by Moyo to buy tri-cycles, which were distributed to chiefs and headmen in his Tsholotsho North constituency.
The four are alleged to have used different modus operandi to swindle Zimdef of a substantial amount of money.
Gandawa is also accused of failing to disclose his personal interest in Fuzzy Technologies (Pvt) Ltd, a company he co-directs with his daughter, Clarence Erene.
The trial continues on Thursday.