$1 million fraud accused GMB bosses try to shift blame on employer

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By Court Reporter

THREE Grain Marketing Board (GMB) bosses facing $1 million fraud have challenged prosecution arguing the parastatal should be charged instead.

Korbs Kobie Mutandiro, Basilio Sandamu and Taona Munzvandi are being charged in their individual capacities after they allegedly duped their employer in a botched land deal.

They appeared before Harare regional magistrate Lucy Mungwari on Monday declining to be prosecuted with ruling on their challenge set for this coming Thursday.

Prosecuting, Michael Reza argued that the trio’s application was misplaced because it was the State’s prerogative to decide who to prosecute in the matter.

Reza said Mutandiro and his accomplices had made similar applications before various other courts to no avail.

“The fiction of the separate corporate personality cannot be taken too far. There are occasions when the court is entitled to peer behind the façade of a fictitious separate legal person…some of these are if corporate personality is being used for fraud or illegal purpose,” Reza said.

According to the State, sometime in the late 1990s, government embarked on the Land Reform Programme which involved compulsory acquisition of land for re-distribution.

In terms of the Land Acquisition Act Chapter 20:10 and through an extraordinary Government Gazette general notice 591 of 2001, said the state, a notice was given to acquire Romany Farm under deed of transfer number 5421.

It was registered under Romany Farm (Pvt) Ltd measuring 197, 37 hectares.

Court heard that on April 30, 2013, Munzvandi, in connivance with Mutandiro and Sandamu, hatched a plan to defraud the Fund.

It is alleged that Munzvandi and Mutandiro entered into an agreement-of-sale of the said farm to GMB Pension Fund for $2, 5 million knowing that the farm had been acquired by the State.

Acting on the misrepresentation, GMB Pension Fund transferred $1 040 000 into Organs Resources (Pvt) Ltd Standard Chartered bank corporate account where Mutandiro is the director and signatory to the bank account.

As a result, GMB Pension Fund was prejudiced of $1 040 000 and nothing was recovered.