Defence ministry officials in $5m fraud

Zimbabwean courts are handling emergency cases only during the Level 4 national lockdown

Munyaradzi Doma/Cynthia Chitombi

Three Defence and War Veterans’ ministry officials allegedly swindled government of more than $5m in a well-orchestrated plan where payments were made for none-rendered services, an investigating officer from the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission has revealed.

ZACC’s Patrick Madiye told Harare magistrate Hosea Mujaya how Tirivangani Matare (37), Linda Mangove (34) and Oscar Kwaramba (46), who are facing allegations of criminal abuse of duty involving $751 150 charges, could have stolen more than $5 million from the ministry.

He was testifying against the trio after the state opposed bail when they appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court.

“The accused persons will face more similar charges because investigations show that the Ministry of Defence lost more than ZW$5 million.

“Most of the money was being siphoned into companies and some of the charges will include money laundering,” he said.

Matare who is the chief accountant, was represented by Admire Rubaya, while Mangove who is an assistant accountant was represented by Raymond Nyarugwe and Kwaramba, an accountant was represented by Admire Chiyengerere.

Prosecutor Charles Muchemwa opposed bail, but Matare, Mangove and Kwaramba were granted $4 000, $2 000 and $3 000 bail, respectively, coupled with other conditions.

They will be back in court on January 3 next year.

It is the state’s case against the trio that on April 29 this year, Matare tasked Fungisai Maria Chiurira to prepare a template for payments who gave the profile to Kwaramba to finish it as she was traveling to Malaysia the following day.

Chiurira left for Malaysia and on May 23, the trio processed a fraudulent payment to Ollymann Investments Private Limited.

Matare is said to have instructed Mangove to feed the document into the computer and for Kwaramba to post it for payment of $751 150 to Ollymann’s FBC account.

The money was fraudulently purported to have been paid for cleaning and car services rendered by Ollymann Investments to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

Further allegations are that Kwaramba approached Joseph Providence Chamboko to use his profile account to process payment for Ollymann Investiments.

The court further heard that Chamboko doubted the reason why Kwaramba would raise the payment instead of it being raised by other officers, John Oziwati Hungwe, Kunofiwa Malvern Madondo or Tsitsi Karenyi, who were present and on duty.

It is alleged that Chamboko told Otilia Mhundwa, the accountant responsible for payment of all 2018 invoices, who checked with age-analysis where all outstanding invoices are recorded.

It is further alleged that the invoices were not recorded in the system and Mhundwa called Ollymann Investments who confirmed that the job was paid for and that ZDF owed them nothing.

It also alleged that despite the confirmation being made in their presence, the trio insisted that the payment be done.

The court also heard Mangove did not process the document but Kwaramba used Chiurira’s profile while she was not in the country.

Payment was made to Ollymann Investments for the second time.

Further allegations are that the payment transaction was then posted to chief accountants, Lameck Jekiseni and Maurice Maswa, who processed payment into Ollyman’s account.

On June 1, Chiuriri returned from Malasyia and she was informed by Joseph Chamboko that her profile account was used to process an unclear payment.

Chiuriri reportedly confronted Mangove who indicated that she had been instructed to do the payment by Matare.

Investigators from ZACC received information on the case and recovered documents which showed that the ministry had been duped $751 150.

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