Home » Judicial » Ex-Airzim CEO Blames Co-Accused

Former Air Zimbabwe Holdings (Pvt) Ltd group CEO Peter Chikumba yesterday distanced himself from the appointment of Navistar Insurance Brokers (Private) Limited and blamed his co-accused Grace Pfumbidzayi.

Testifying in the ongoing trial, which is now at the defence case, Chikumba said Pfumbidzai enlisted the services of Navistar to provide aviation and insurance cover without going to tender while services of other existing companies were terminated. While being led by his lawyer Mr Admire Rubaya, Chikumba said the appointment of Navistar was a unilateral act.

Chikumba and Pfumbidzai are accused of defrauding the Airline of euro5 175 593 and $502 748 in an alleged insurance scam.

They are facing charges of criminal abuse of duty as public officers and fraud.

“Your Worship, I do not know how Navistar was appointed. It was appointed by the letter of March 18 2009 by accused two (Pfumbidzai) and she did not copy the letter to anyone. I did not sign the letter despite me being responsible for communicating with the outside world. There were no minutes or resolutions supporting that appointment,” he said.

Chikumba said on March 21 a letter came from Navistar and was addressed to him with the insurance company thanking him for the appointment.

When asked by Mr Rubaya why Navistar was thanking him for something he was not involved in, Chikumba said that his request was for the State to bring Navistar to court and ask them why they were thanking him.

“I just referred the letter to accused two for her to act relevantly since she was in charge of that portfolio, but she did not come back to me with the action she had taken. I did not put the letter under the carpet as it was clearly passed on to the accused two. There was nothing in that letter to inform the board or the Ministry,” he said.

Mr Rubaya asked “The State says you did not query the appointment of Navistar, what would be your comment?

In response Chikumba said “Those facts can only hold water if supported with clear instructions from me, I did not instruct accused two as alleged by the State.” He added that Pfumbidzai as the company secretary was the one responsible for receiving and sending communication to service providers, including receiving invoices or debit notes for purposes of verifying that such were in legal compliance of provisions in insurance policy and recommending the same to the general manager finance to authorise payments. Regional magistrate Ms Fadzai Mthombeni, rolled over the matter to today when Pfumbidzai’s lawyers Aocate Webster Chinamhora instructed by Mr Andrew Muvirimi, are expected to cross-examine Chikumba who is still on the witness stand.

Source : The Herald