Home » Governance » Finance Ministry Loses U.S $800 000

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development allegedly lost close to $800 000 to its four senior employees through underhand dealings.

Senior economist Varaidzo Margret Chirahwi (32) is jointly charged with accountant Jacob Forgive Mlambo (30), deputy director external finance Stanely Zharare (40) and acting director of finance Mary Takavarasha (45).

Their accomplices are still at large.

The quartet allegedly processed and submitted to the accountant general’s office fake invoices for payment in the name of non-existent companies.

They further attached a fake covering letter purportedly originated by the finance director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, indicating that the Ministry had been supplied inputs that were due for payment.

The quartet, that is facing fraud charges, appeared before magistrate Mr Milton Serima, who granted them $1 000 bail each.

They initially appeared in court on Saturday last week and were remanded in custody to yesterday for bail ruling.

Mr Serima remanded them to March 28.

Prosecutor Miss Sharon Mashavira alleges that sometime in December last year, the four processed fake invoices which they later submitted to the accountant general’s Office for payment.

They submitted names of non-existent firms in the name of Nico Orgo (Pvt) Limited and Pioneer Hibred (Pvt) Limited. The court heard that they also attached a fake covering letter purportedly originated by Kudakwashe Zata the finance director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, to the effect that the said companies had supplied inputs worth $412 095 and were due for payment.

On that same day, it is alleged the Ministry acted upon the fake documents and instructed FBC Bank to effect a transfer of $220 050 into the four accused’s BancABC account and $192 045 into another Steward Bank account.

According to the State, the two bank accounts were fraudulently opened on December 23 last year by the four accused persons and their accomplices.

Between December 31 last year and January this year, it is alleged, the four withdrew a total of $407 785 and further transferred $92 750 into FBC Bank account and $79 915 into Steward Bank account they had also opened.

While using the same method, the State alleges, the four submitted another fake invoice worth $317 250 in the name of Pioneer Hibred to the Accountant General’s Office for payment.

As a result the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development acted upon the fake documents and instructed FBC Bank to transfer $317 250 into accused’s BancABC account.

The offence came to light on January 15 this year when the Ministry of Agriculture requested the Ministry of Finance to release funds to Reapers (pvt) Limited, Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company and Windmill (pvt) Limited but was surprised to learn that the bank balance was insufficient to meet the payments.

According to the State, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development lost a total of $729 345 and only $4 310 was recovered.

Source : The Herald

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