Man in court after foiled bid to defraud Chitungwiza Municipality of $120,000

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By Audience Mutema

A 43-year-old Harare man is in trouble with the law after he tried to dupe Chitungwiza Municipality of close to $120,000 through a civil suit in which he misrepresented himself as owner of a company that had a tender deal with the municipality abruptly reversed.

Darlington Chirara was hauled before Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa facing fraud charges.

This is after he successfully sued the municipality for $119,113 on behalf of Scotia Steel Company without the knowledge of company owners.

The municipality only managed to save its money after it learnt of the lawsuit in local media.

Chirara was this past week freed on $100 bail pending his trial.

The complainant in the case is the local government ministry which is being represented by George Makunde, Chitungwiza Town clerk.

According to court papers, in May 2011, Chitungwiza municipality tendered notice for the procurement of a jet machine (high velocity cleaning machine).

Submissions of bids were done on 31 May 2011.

The tender for the supply of the jet machine valued at US$119,113 was processed and awarded to Scotia Steel Company on 18 July 2011.

On 25 August 2011, the council made an application for electronic funds in the sum of US$59 560 to be transferred from its Metropolitan Bank account into Scotia Steel’s Stanbic Bank account.

The electronic transfer was not successfully done and both parties regarded it as a failed deal and no further action was taken against Chitungwiza Municipality.

Sometime during the year 2014, Chirara got to know about the tender awarded to Scotia Steel Private Limited and how Chitungwiza Municipality had failed to meet the conditions of the contract.

He then instructed his lawyers to institute legal proceedings for breach of contract against Chitungwiza Municipality.

His accomplice, Paul Ernest Mzenge Zhou represented Scotia Steel Private Limited purporting to be the company’s Finance Director.

The case, Scotia Steel Private Limited versus Chitungwiza Municipality was heard under the high court of Zimbabwe, reference HC 9156/14.

Chitungwiza Municipality was ordered to pay $119,113 including costs of the lawsuit to Scotia Steel Private Limited through an order issued by Justice Dube on 21 November 2017.

Owners of the real Scotia Steel Private Limited knew about the High Court case through articles published on 6 December 2017 in local media.

The company informed Chitungwiza Municipality through its legal practitioners that it did not institute legal proceedings against the authority.

This resulted to a fraud case reported to Zimbabwe Anti-corruption Commission by Chitungwiza Municipality.

The town suffered a potential prejudice of a total of $119,113-50 because of accused person’s action.

Sebastian Mutizirwa appeared or the state.