AN MP removed two signatories to a Constituency Development Fund bank account and replaced them with his wife and friend before blowing US$49,304 on private business, a court heard.
Magunje MP Franco Ndambakuwa (Zanu PF) is the second lawmaker to be charged with fraud relating to abuse of the fund.
St Mary’s MP Marvellous Khumalo (MDC-T) was freed on US$300 bail last week after also being charged with fraud relating to the US$50,000 fund designed to provide MPs with financial means to kick-start development projects in their constituencies.
Ndambakuwa, 52, appeared before Harare magistrate Anita Tshuma on Wednesday and was remanded to March 19 on US$500 bail.
The legislator was ordered to report once every week to the Anti-Corruption Commission. He was barred from applying for the replacement of his lost passport until the matter is finalised.
David Magwegwe, for the state, told the court that on September 30, 2010, the Magunje constituency committee opened an account with Agribank.
Between November 1 and December 29, 2010, Treasury transferred US$50,000 in three batches into the account.
The signatories were Ndambakuwa and two councillors, Badwell Chasara and Henry Dandawa.
On November 13, Ndambakuwa allegedly misrepresented to the constituency committee that he intended to buy four grinding mills for the four wards in the constituency.
Acting upon the misrepresentation, the committee withdrew US$10,000 but Ndambakuwa pocketed the money.
The theft came to light following an audit by the Ministry of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs in May last year.
To cover his tracks, Ndambakuwa reportedly tendered a quotation from Fastsellers Hardware purporting it to be a receipt for building materials for Sadzi School worth US$4,972.
He also tendered two backdated cash receipts of US$240 each from Stockday Distributors Pvt Ltd to prove he bought two generators yet he bought one, which he converted to personal use.
He requested for a cash receipt for another generator, which he promised to pay later and never did.
After he failed to account for the first withdrawal, the other signatories refused to authorise another withdrawal.
On December 31, 2010, it is alleged that he manufactured minutes purporting that the Magunje CDF committee had resolved to change signatories to the bank account.
The two councillors were then replaced by Ndambakuwa’s wife, Lydia Musonza, and his friend Joel Zvikonyauswa.
The legislator, it is alleged, withdrew US$16,660 from the account, which he pocketed.
The court further heard that from December 7, 2010, to January 24 last year, Ndambakuwa made three separate withdrawals amounting to US$23,000.
On all those occasions, it is alleged, he converted the money to his own use.
To cover up, the legislator tendered two quotations from Fastsellers Hardware purporting to be receipts for the purchase of building materials worth US$9,260.
He claimed to have bought the materials for Zvarayi Secondary School and Mukakatanwa School but checks with those schools exposed the con.
Police say they expect to make further arrests of lawmakers who abused their US$50,000 allocations, but parliamentary officials say 95 percent of MPs have satisfactory accounted for their expenditure.