MINES and Mining Development permanent secretary Francis Gudyanga is the lone board member at the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) and drawing allowances even when there has been no meeting at the parastatal, a court heard yesterday.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Gudyanga is the complainant and State witness in a case in which two MMCZ executives — acting general manager Richard Chingodza (41) and his deputy Hannan Tongai Chitate (35) — are on trial for $600 000 fraud.
Gudyanga drew the ire of defence lawyer Oliver Marwa when he claimed in his evidence-in-chief that Chingodza and Chitate fraudulently approved their personal loans without the knowledge of the board.
Marwa then asked Gudyanga to state the number of board members required to approve those loans, to which the Mines secretary responded by revealing he was the only board member since December 2013 and also that there had not been any meeting.
The lawyer then gave Gudyanga a document showing the various amounts he received as board fees, leaving the witness tongue-tied. Magistrate Francis Makomo then ordered Gudyanga to read out the contents, but he refused before admitting to receiving some of the money, but then claimed he would want to verify some of the figures.
According to documents shown in court, Gudyanga fraudulently received $23 128 from MMCZ coffers for three years.
Former MMCZ board secretary Nomsa Moyo had earlier testified in court that Gudyanga was running the corporation like a tuck shop making arbitrary decisions without consulting the general manager although he was a designated board member.
Moyo said Gudyanga elbowed her from her position to cover up corrupt activities, but the claim was vehemently denied by the secretary.
Magistrate Makomo remanded the matter to April 25 for continuation of trial. Chingodza and Chitate are out of custody on $5 000 bail
each with stringent conditions.
Allegations are that contrary to their duties and without following procedures, Chingodza and Chitate, acting in connivance, fraudulently awarded themselves acting, education, long service and backpay allowances and loans totalling $625 226,88 from June 2013 to April 19 last year.
The State alleges Chingodza directly benefited $390 985,69, while Chitate took home $234 241,19 from the scam and all monies were deposited into their personal accounts.
Molly Mtamangira prosecuted.