CATCH & RELEASE? Zanu PF’s Wadyajena released from remand; State still to engage the Western countries help US$5m fraud investigation

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By Erica Jecha

HARARE: Fraud-accused Zanu PF legislator Justice Mayor Wadyajena had his application for removal from remand granted by a city magistrate on Monday, citing delays in completion of investigations.

Wadyajena appeared before the magistrate Taurai Manuwere after being on remand for seven months without trial.

He is jointly charged with Cottco bosses in a case where they are accused of defrauding the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) of US$5 million through the alleged fictitious purchase of goods purportedly for use by the government-owned company.

He was arrested together with the parastatal bosses in August last year and later released from custody on bail.

In his ruling Monday, magistrate Manuwere said; “The State had mentioned that they needed a month to complete investigations and they should have completed them in August and September last year but to this day there is no progress.

“The State mentioned that they had no fear of abscondment if the accused were released from remand and that they were not yet ready for trial. They are still to engage the republics of the Netherlands, the USA and Mauritius.

“Refusal of further remand is hereby granted and the accused are going to proceed by way of summons.”

Wadyajena and his co-accused allegedly created a local firm identical to a Mauritius-based company which they allegedly used to get orders for Carbon Bale Ties, which were to be used by Cottco.

Court papers state that Cottco never received the bales as per the claimed agreement with the accused persons allegedly diverting the money for personal benefit.

Some of the money was reportedly used to import 25 trucks from a USA company called Giant Equipment in 2019 and 2020.

The trucks were seized as part of police investigations.

Two posh cars belonging to Wadyajena were also intercepted and seized at Beitbridge border post, amid claims they were being taken to South Africa to prevent authorities from seizing them as part of the investigations.