Graft Accused National Museums Bosses Try To Gag Star Witness

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By Mary Taruvinga

NATIONAL Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) executives, facing corruption charges involving illegal diverting of over 18 000 litres of fuel, were recently exposed after attempting to silence a State’s star witness in their fraud case.

NMMZ executive director Godfrey Mahachi, 59, and his deputy Darlington Munyikwa, 52, are being jointly charged with Elizabeth Mapurisa for allegedly diverting over 18 000 litres of petrol belonging to NMMZ for personal use.

The court heard how Mahachi and Munyikwa, connived to sneak manipulated documents to the police to implicate their human resources manager Epiphania Pasipamire, resulting in her arrest for fraud.

Pasipamire appeared in court charged with inflating travel and subsistence allowances and prejudicing NNMZ $2 000.

She is also accused of failing to declare a double payment for travel allowance that had been erroneously transferred into her bank account.

Mapurisa gave testimony during Pasipamire’s trial recently and it emerged that Mapurisa had removed some of the receipts that she had tendered as allowance claims.

During the trial, Mapurisa failed to justify why her superior, audit manager, John Muketsi was not aware that the NMMZ had a matter before the courts. Mapurisa then admitted in court that she had taken instructions from Mahachi and Munyikwa before testifying against Pasipamire.

“I put it to you that you worked with NMMZ executives because they want to frustrate me so that I do not testify against them in court,” Pasipamire said.

“I gave you full receipts when I acquitted my claim forms but you removed some of them and gave to the State to give an impression that I had committed an offence.”

Pasipamire produced as proof, letters compiled by Mapurisa early this year in which Mapurisa labelled her a devil and vouched for her expulsion because she had failed to fix a power cut problem that affected the whole of Rotten Row area in central Harare.

“Witness you have lied that there is no bad blood between us but I have with me documents that you wrote calling for my removal for issues that the human resources has no control over,” she said.

“You have lied that the audit manager was not around when you compiled your working papers because we all know that he was. He will also testify in this court.”

Another State witness, NMMZ finance manager Lydia Mwarewangepo said she was surprised that Pasipamire was being charged for matters that should have been dealt with internally.

Mwarewangepo said according to their company’s travel policy, if an irregularity was observed during allowance claims, the respective employee was engaged to give clarifications, but Pasipamire was never contacted because there was a hidden agenda.

The finance manager told the court the alleged double payment was because two different bank accounts had been used to transfer $1 400 to Pasipamire.

Mwarewangepo said Mahachi had also been double paid $701 and Munyikwa $611 and their cases were not dealt with in the same manner Pasipamire’s had been handled.

Pasipamire’s trial continues in January.