Wednesday, 14 April 2021

BUSINESSMAN DENIES CLOUD SEEDING SCAM

INCARERATED Harare businessman Adam Hartnack has denied allegations that he swindled the government of over US$60 000 in a cloud seeding scam.

Hartnack and his company Adamair are facing three counts of fraud and yesterday he told the Harare Magistrates’ Courts he had a backup aircraft after one of his planes went for mandatory maintenance in South Africa.

“It is a mandatory requirement for an aircraft to be serviced according to aviation laws to ensure the aircraft is safe. 

“It was up to me to provide a backup aircraft should it be necessary because there is no stipulated time on how long the service will be.  Checks can be as short as 48 hours or as long as the maintenance operator deems necessary.

“To ensure that we don’t let our client down, we have a backup aircraft on standby. I made contact with HAC, JR to use their aircraft,” he said.

It is the State’s case that on December 31, 2018 the government, through the Agriculture ministry transferred US$400 000 to Adamair as advance payment for cloud seeding services. 

This was after the company had won a tender and entered into a contract with the Meteorological Department for the services. 

Prosecutors said that on February 1, 2019, one of the company’s aircraft was pulled out of the contract and flown to South Africa for maintenance. 

Allegations are that between February 1 and March 13, 2019, Hartnack misrepresented information in Adamair flight analysis schedule that there were two aircraft on standby to carry out cloud seeding services yet there was one aircraft. 

It is alleged that Hartnack charged the Meteorological Department aircraft standby charges of US$1 600 and tax of US$240 per day and a total of US$55 200 was paid to Adamair.  On the second count, it is alleged that Hartnack misrepresented to the Meteorological Department that his company had carried out cloud seeding in the northern part of the country for over three hours and was paid US$45 888 yet the service was not provided. 

He is further alleged to have been paid US$47 176 after misrepresenting that his company had done a cloud seeding exercise yet nothing had been done. 

Hartnack said he has no reason to flee as he has been a permanent resident of Zimbabwe since 1973 and that he has thriving businesses locally which he cannot abandon. He said he wants an opportunity to clear his name as the allegations affect his business.

The case continues today.   Daily News

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