‘Fraudsters’ Mpofu, Chimombe to spend another weekend in jail as presiding magistrate falls sick

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By Staff Reporter

FRAUD co-accused persons, Moses Mpofu and Mike Chimombe will spend their second weekend behind bars after the presiding magistrate failed to pitch up owing to an illness.

The pair is languishing in remand prison following their arrest for allegedly abusing US$7 million Presidential Goat Scheme funds.

The presiding magistrate, Marewanazvo Gofa is currently unwell, which has seen their bail hearing being postponed for the second time this week.

The hearing has been moved to Monday amid hopes that Gofa will be well by then.

The second investigating officer in the case, Henry Chapwanya, was on the witness stand the last time the matter was heard.

He opposed bail submitting that the two had given false addresses as such were flight risks.

Chapwanya also said the two have valid Chinese visas and were men of means, who can sustain livelihoods in foreign countries.

Allegations are that the duo forged a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) tax clearance certificate and a National Social Security Authority (NSSA) compliance certificate for Mpofu’s company, Blackdeck Private Limited, and attached them in a bidding document submitted to the Ministry of Lands for a tender for the supply and delivery of goats under the Presidential Goat Pass-on Scheme.

The State submitted that the accused “misrepresented that the company was in full compliance with ZIMRA and NSSA requirements. Investigations indicated that the QR code and the reference on the NSSA compliance certificate were issued to a different company.

It was further established that Blackdeck Private Limited was deregistered from the NSSA system in January 2016.

Further investigations established that Blackdeck Private Limited was not issued with a ZIMRA tax clearance certificate for the year 2021 and that the QR code on the forged tax clearance certificate belonged to a different company.

“Acting on the misrepresentation, the Ministry of Lands contracted Blackdeck Private Limited on the 3rd of November 2021.

“The Ministry transferred ZW$901 294 200 and ZW$698 705 800 on the 21st of April 2022 and the 29th of June 2022 respectively into their bank account.

“The total amount was ZWL1.6 billion and was equivalent to US$7 712 197. Following delays in the delivery of the goats, the Ministry of Lands officials made several engagements with the accused persons.”

Mpofu and Chimombe allegedly misrepresented that they had mobilised 32 500 goats across the provinces, which were ready to be distributed to the beneficiaries.

However, a verification process revealed that the accused persons only had 3 713 goats at their holding sites.

The Ministry cancelled the contract on the 29th of August 2022, following the discovery.

“The accused persons only supplied a total of 4 208 goats valued at USD331 445 and went on to convert US$7 380 751 to their personal use.”