HIGHER and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Deputy Minister Godfrey Gandawa and Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) principal director (finance) Nicholas Mapute yesterday appeared in court charged with fraud, among other shenanigans, and were remanded in custody for bail ruling today.
Their co-accused — Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo — did not show up at the Harare Magistrate’s Courts yesterday, prompting the State to apply for a warrant of arrest against him.
Chief law officer Mr Lovett Masuku told the court that the application was based on the
indemnity agreement signed by Prof Moyo’s lawyer who undertook to bring his client to court.
Mr Masuku opposed bail for Gandawa arguing that he is likely to intimidate State witnesses who are his subordinates. To substantiate his submission, Mr Masuku called Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) senior investigations officer Mr Lovemore Findi who said Gandawa doctored documents to mask the offence.
“A transfer of $107 525 was made to his personal bank account for the supply of 170 computers, but he only supplied 50,” said Mr Findi.
“To sanitise the offence, he created a fictitious delivery note purporting that the ministry received 120 computers when in actual fact it did not. There is no record at the ministry or Zimdef that the computers were delivered.”
Mr Findi added that Gandawa was facing another charge of failing to aver interest in a transaction.
“After realising that he did not disclose that he is the owner of Fuzzy Technologies (Pvt) Ltd, Gandawa backdated a declaration of interest that he was the director and owns the company,” said Mr Findi.
“However, the declaration was done on August 3, 2015 and there is a stamp from Zimdef dated June 21, 2016.”
Gandawa’s lawyer, Mr Bernard Chidziva, said his client could not interfere with witnesses and deserved bail.
“He is a proper candidate for bail and he cooperated with investigations. I pray that the court grants him $400 bail, order him to surrender his passport,” said Mr Chidziva.
Mr Masuku did not oppose bail for Mapute, but urged the court to grant him $5 000 bail, coupled with $10 000 surety.
“He should surrender his travel documents, report at Waterfalls Police Station and reside at the given address pending finalisation of the matter,” said Mr Masuku.
“He should not interfere with State witnesses and is not allowed to visit his workplace pending finalisation of the matter.”
The magistrate, Mr Vakayi Chikwekwe, asked Mr Masuku if barring Mapute from visiting his workplace was not tantamount to suspending him, and he agreed.
Mapute’s lawyer, Mr Pisirai Kwenda, told the court that the bail quantum was exorbitant.
“State is aware that Mapute is not feeling well and is on sick leave. He underwent a major operation and has used a lot of money on treatment,” said Mr Kwenda.
“He is only facing two charges, which are similar to charges faced by his superior, Zimdef chief executive officer, Fredrick Mandizvidza. Mandizvidza paid $300 bail, did not surrender his passport or provide surety.”
Mr Chikwekwe will make a ruling on Prof Moyo’s warrant of arrest and Dr Gandawa and Mapute’s bail applications today.
Prof Moyo and Dr Gandawa are facing five counts of criminal abuse of duty as public officers, three counts of fraud, and three counts of money laundering.
Dr Gandawa is also facing four counts of corruptly concealing from a principal a personal interest in a transaction.
Prof Moyo also faces defeating or obstructing the course of justice charges. Mapute is facing fraud and criminal abuse of duty charges.
It is alleged on November 6, 2015 Dr Gandawa and Prof Moyo recommended and approved a request for the purchase of 10 3D printers worth $95 800 and a computerised embroidery machine worth $16 000.
It is alleged that without going to tender, the pair awarded the business to Wisebone Trading (Pvt) Ltd, a company owned by Dr Gandawa’s uncle.
It is alleged that the pair also bypassed the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and administration department for the procurement procedures.
Conniving with Mandizvidza, $95 800 was transferred from Zimdef to a Wisebone bank account, the court heard.
Later the money was allegedly transferred to Dr Gandawa’s company, Fuzzy Technologies.
On December 18 last year $107 525 was allegedly transferred into Fuzzy Technologies for the purchase of 170 computers.
The payment was allegedly authorised by Mapute.
It is alleged only 50 computers worth $24 000 were supplied, leaving a balance of 120 computers worth $83 525.
Another $41 250 was allegedly transferred to Fuzzy Technologies for the purchase of 75 HP desktop computers for the Presidential computerisation programme.
On April 8 this year Fuzzy Technologies was allegedly given a contract to supply goods and services worth $185 840 for the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.
On April 12 Dr Gandawa allegedly made several withdrawals and money transfers into Titantech (Pvt) Ltd and Computer Trim and Stationary for computers, which were delivered to Great Zimbabwe University and Lupane State University.
It is alleged two days later Dr Gandawa transferred $50 000 to his personal account and withdrew the money.
The following day $2 567 was transferred to Harare Polytechnic College for payment for calendars and on April 20 $70 000 went into Dr Gandawa’s personal account, it is alleged.
Another 18 computers were bought for Great Zimbabwe University on April 23 this year and 13 Samsung Tablets and iPads were bought from Makro South Africa and imported under the Ministry of Education, Gweru and exempted from paying duty, it is alleged.
A personal loan of $24 000, $9 000 cash and $15 000 through bank account, was advanced to Prof Moyo, it is alleged.
It is alleged $95 800 was transferred from Zimdef to Wisebone Trading for the purchase of 10 3D printers for the engineering departments in the country’s eight polytechnics and two industrial training colleges.
The court heard that the then director of Wisebone, Walter Chasara made several withdrawals of $19 900 and handed over the money to Dr Gandawa and Prof Moyo.
Chasara was instructed to transfer $70 030 to Fuzzy Technologies and Dr Gandawa made cash withdrawals and bank transfers of the money.
It is alleged from November to December last year Prof Moyo instructed his personal assistant, Shephard Honzeri, to get quotations for tri-cycles for donation to his Tshlolotsho North Constituency.
Prof Moyo allegedly instructed Dr Gandawa to transfer $19 030 to H.I.B. Rajput Ace Cycle from the balance of printers from Wisebone.
Dr Gandawa, Prof Moyo and Mapute connived to allegedly transfer $27 550 from Fuzzy Technologies for the purchase of 10 three-wheeled motor cycles.
It is alleged that Prof Moyo, while knowing that he was under investigations, made utterances intending to frustrate, obstruct and defeat the course of justice. Herald