Tuesday 13 February 2024


FORMER National Biotechnology Authority chief executive Jonathan Mufandaedza has been acquitted of all 24 counts of criminal abuse of office and the single charge of fraud he was facing since his arrest in March 2021.

Mufandaedza was accused of using NBA funds for personal use, spending more than US$6 000 on a holiday in South Africa, and putting his gardener and housemaid on the NBA payroll among other charges, allegedly prejudicing the authority of thousands of United States dollars in unapproved expenditure.

He denied all charges when his trial opened last year before Harare regional magistrate Mrs Feresi Chakanyuka.

After a fully contested trial, Mrs Chakanyuka found Mufandaedza not guilty and acquitted him, noting that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Charges against Mufandaedza covered a wide range of payments by NBA, which he had allegedly authorised, with these payments largely benefiting himself.

In 2015, US$10 000 was allegedly paid out to him and three others over a biosafety report that was prepared by a NBA subordinate.

In December 2013, US$6 160 was allegedly paid for a holiday in South Africa although he was not entitled to holiday allowances. He also allegedly drew more than 28 000 litres of fuel which he was not entitled to.

Rents and rates were allegedly paid by NBA, and a cleaner, gardener and two security guards on the NBA payroll were assigned to his leased property. Other allegations include the purchase of cellphones, and hiring out of his buses to transport NBA staff, as well as purchasing a Land Rover Discovery vehicle in 2018 without board approval.

Mr Everson Chatambudza of Rubaya and Chatambudza Legal Practitioners successfully represented Mufandaedza while Mr Brian Vito appeared for the State. Herald



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