By Court Reporter
THREE top Grain Marketing Board (GMB) officials who have been charged over $1 million fraud allegations are facing eight more money laundering charges and are likely to be picked up by the police anytime soon.
The three are Korbs Kobie Mutandiro, Basilio Sandamu and Taona Munzvandi.
They are currently on trial after they allegedly duped their employer of over $1 million in a botched land deal.
On Wednesday, prosecutor Michael Reza revealed that the accused are facing more charges during their trial before Harare magistrate Lucy Mungwari.
Reza was seeking postponement of trial after the magistrate dismissed the application of the bosses who were challenging trial.
“The accused will in fact be charged with eight more money laundering counts. The police are hunting them down and the charges the state intends to prefer against them link with the current charges.
“We are trying to avoid unnecessary splitting of charges,” said Reza.
The magistrate however dismissed Reza’s application and ordered that the trial should start right away.
“The accused’s defence outline is already before the court. Besides that, the state was given a longer remand of 90 days. The arrest should have been done within those 90 days. Postponing this case will not cure the state’s wishes,” ruled Mungwari.
Earlier, the three had declined prosecution arguing that it was wrong to charge them as individuals.
But court upheld Reza’s argument that their application was misplaced because it was the State’s prerogative to decide who to prosecute in the matter.
“The state is dominus litis (Chooses who to prosecute). The outline suggests the accused were acting in personal capacities and this might be the reason the state charged them on individual capacity,” she ruled.
It is state’s case that 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 embezzle money from 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.
Nothing was recovered.