Ministry Duped of $2,7m in Air Tickets

Cheryl Ethan Travel (Pvt) Limited director, Moreen Tatenda Nego, yesterday appeared in court facing allegations of defrauding the Ministry of Defence and War Veteran Affairs of over $2,7 million after conniving with finance officers from the army that their ministry had purchased 79 air tickets for travel outside the country.

Nego, who was being represented by Mr Stephen Chikotora, appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts charged with fraud.

She was not asked to plead to the charges when she appeared before Harare regional magistrate, Mr Trynois Utahwashe, who remanded her to October 1 on $30 000 bail.

The State, led by Mr Taddy Kamuriwo, alleged that sometime in January 2016, Nego teamed up with Shepherd Chiriga, who has since appeared in court facing the same allegations, and registered their company.

Sometime in July last year, Nego and Chiriga, connived with finance officers in the Ministry of Defence and hatched a plan to defraud the ministry.

It is alleged they misrepresented to the ministry that Cheryl Ethan Travel had purchased air tickets for army officers who wanted to travel outside the country.

On July 15, 2019, an invoice was generated from the Ministry of Defence for payment of travel services.

The court heard that the director of finance at the Ministry of Defence recommended payment of the said amount into Cheryl Ethan Services’ bank account.

Mr Kamuriwo alleges that during the period between July 16 and 25 last year, the money was transferred into a company called Right Turn Travel, which was reportedly owned by the finance director.

The State alleges that investigations by police revealed that no travel services were rendered to the Ministry of Defence at that time.

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