By Mary Taruvinga
FORMER Mines and Mining Development permanent secretary, Francis Gudyanga’s attempt to avoid trial hit a brick wall on Monday after a Harare Magistrate ruled there was reasonable suspicion that a crime was committed.
He is facing fraud charges after he allegedly defrauded the Mineral Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) of US$1 629 500.
The ex-bureaucrat is also facing two other counts of criminal abuse of office before different courts.
Gudyanga had challenged prosecution arguing that his charges do not disclose an offense but Harare magistrate, Victoria Mashamba ruled that his application for exception lacked merit.
“Issues raised by the accused are triable issues and can only prove them wrong during trial. Also, the State’s charge is very clear on what crime was committed and the charge does not embarrass the accused in any way. The application for exception lacks merit and is hereby dismissed,” ruled the magistrate.
His trial was then set for June 1.
The complainant in the case is the MMCZ which is being represented by its board chairperson, Ambrose Made.
It is alleged that during the period extending from September 2014 to December 2015, Gudyanga, acting as the permanent secretary of Mines and Mining Development, ordered MMCZ to pay US$1 629 500 to Glammer Private Limited.
Gudyanga allegedly told MMCZ to pay Glammer through Pedstock Investments, as Glammer was a foreign company.
He also allegedly lied that the money was to be accounted for as part of the dividends to the stakeholder, which was the Government of Zimbabwe.
MMCZ released the money to Pedstock Investments.
It was later discovered that the money had nothing to do with MMCZ and it was not being paid to the Government of Zimbabwe, but instead was to be used in a fraudulent arrangement Gudyanga had made.
Dividends are supposed to be paid to the permanent secretary who then issues a receipt of acknowledgement.
After this, the permanent secretary is then supposed to pay the Ministry of Finance.
Due to the alleged fraud, Gudyanga caused MMCZ to lose US$1 629 500.
Gudyanga also has two pending cases in which he is being jointly charged with former Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa.
Chidhakwa is accused of sanctioning a one-man board which was presided over by Gudyanga.
Gudyanga is in trouble for sitting in the board alone pocketing over US$20 000 in allowances which were meant for at least eight people.