Tuesday, 9 October 2018

EX ZINARA BOSS JAILED

FORMER Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) acting chief executive Moses Juma, who was facing criminal abuse of office charges, was yesterday jailed for an effective two years.

Juma was first arrested in 2016 but was released from police custody at the instigation of former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko.
The former VP allegedly stormed Avondale police station and ordered the release of Juma and Davison Norupiri.

The duo was later re-arrested and Norupiri was made an accomplice witness.

Representing the prosecution, Mr Chris Mutangadura urged the court to send Juma to jail, saying he committed a serious offence.


He said such cases were prevalent and a deterrent sentence was neccessary.
Mr Mutangadura said with the new dispensation calling for zero tolerance to corruption and related criminal activities, a strong message should be sent to would-be offenders.

“Your Worship, the new dispensation is now viewing corruption as a cancer that needs to be exorcised from society and that the penalty must deter would be offenders,” he said. “A clear message has to be sent out there that crime does not pay.”

Magistrate Mr Hoseah Mujaya concurred with the State, saying corruption should not be treated as a normal game. He sentenced Juma to 30 months behind bars before suspending six months on condition of good behaviour.

Juma was convicted after a full trial. Mr Mutangadura proved that sometime in 2014, Zinara had a tax obligation with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority of $15 418 133,61 and as a result Zimra garnished $5 714 587,25 on the firm’s account, leaving a balance of $9 703 546,36.

A report was made to the Zinara board by management for guidance to reduce the tax obligations.

The Zinara board tasked the finance committee to engage a tax consultancy firm to help reduce the obligations.

Three firms, Misfot Tax Consultancy, Excel Tax Consultancy and Central Source Management Consultancy trading as Tax Management Services, were chosen to make presentations.

On September 23, 2014, the firms made presentations and Tax Management Services was recommended.

Juma, in his capacity as acting accounting officer at that time, went on to engage Tax Management Services without following proper tender procedures and Zinara was charged $17 250 for tax health checks.

The offence came to light during an inquiry by the Auditor General’s Office which discovered that there was no contract between Zinara and Tax Management Services.

Meanwhile, former Cabinet Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who is facing four counts of abuse of office, will stand trial on October 29.

The trial will run from October 29 to November 2.
Kasukuwere is now being represented by Mr Charles Chinyama after Mr Jonathan Samukange renounced agency citing conflict of interest. He successfully applied to have his reporting conditions altered from reporting twice a day to once a week.
Kasukuwere appeared before magistrate Ms Victoria Mashamba.

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