Home » Judicial » Finance Ministry Fraud Saga – Signwriter Jailed 5 Years

A 64-YEAR-OLD signwriter, who assisted officials in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to forge signatures in the $800 000 fraud scandal, was yesterday jailed five years after pleading guilty to forgery.

Misheck Zharu forged the signature of Kudakwashe Zata, the finance director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development on invoices which were later submitted to the Accountant General’s Office for payment.

The six officials from the ministry are jointly charged with eight well-known fraudsters they hired to help them commit the offence.

Zharu, who has been in remand prison for a week together with his accomplices after they were denied bail, decided not to waste the court’s time and pleaded guilty.

He implicated Christopher Kumisai (35) as the one who brought him the papers to sign.

Kumisai is one of the co-accused.

The frail looking Zharu said he was paid $2 000 for forging the papers.

“Mambo wangu ini hangu ndiri kubvuma mhosva asi ndakangowana $2 000 chete. Christopher ndiye akauya nemapepa akanditi ndifoje signature yemunhu anonzi Zata. Inini ndingoriwo artist ndinoita zvesignwriting.

“Mambo wangu ndiSatan anga andipinda ndiregerereiwo handichazviita futi, ndapota ndiregerereiwo ndine vana 10 nevazukuru vakawanda vese vanoda kuchengetwa neni,” he said.

Magistrate Mr Vakayi Chikwekwe said Zharu’s moral blameworthness was high and a custodial sentence was most appropriate in the circumstances.

He sentenced Zharu to five years in prison before suspending one year on condition of good behaviour.

Magistrate Mr Chikwekwe then effected four years.

“The accused person was the architect of all the signatures which led to the prejudice. Accused person worked with his accomplices to prejudice the Government. He knew the implications of his actions,” Mr Chikwekwe said.

“The Government has limited resources in terms of finance and many projects are not fulfilled because of the current financial situation and the accused person decided to swindle the little that the Government has. A personal and deterrent sentence is appropriate.”

Miss Sharon Mashavira prosecuted.

Meanwhile, a Harare man who is part of a gang of fraudsters hired by officials from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to assist in swindling the ministry of $800 000 through underhand dealings has been jailed for possessing cocaine.

Tonderai Musekiwa (42) from Borrowdale West, Harare, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine valued at $160.

Police recovered the illicit drug when they arrested Musekiwa in connection with the Ministry of Finance fraud saga.

Upon noticing the police approaching, Musekiwa stashed the sachets of cocaine into his socks.

Musekiwa has three pending cases of fraud before the same court involving more than $78 000, R1 597 797 and the recent Ministry of Finance $800 000 fraud.

Musekiwa yesterday pleaded guilty to the offence when he appeared before magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe.

He was sentenced to six months in jail.

Two months were set aside on condition of good behaviour, leaving Musekiwa with four months to serve.

In passing the sentence, Mr Mahwe said “Cocaine is a dangerous and hard drug which is not so common in Zimbabwe. It has serious health consequences in human beings hence it should be discouraged. A short and sharp sentence is appropriate in this case,” he said.

The cocaine was forfeited to the State and will be destroyed.

Mr Mahwe asked Musekiwa why he was in possession of a dangerous drug and in response he said that he sometimes took cocaine but that on the day in question the drug in his car had been left by his friend.

Prosecutor Miss Sharon Mashavira proved that on February 25 detectives from CID frauds arrested Musekiwa on fraud charges.

They saw him concealing something in his stockings and became suspicious and searched him.

That was when they recovered the dangerous drug.

Source : The Herald