Top civil servant nails fraud accused GMB bosses

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By Mary Taruvinga

A senior bureaucrat has accused senior executives at the Grain Marketing Board of making misrepresentations and made away with over RTGS$1 million.

Local Government Ministry secretary, George Magosvongwe told a Harare Magistrate that Korbs Kobie Mutandiro, Basilio Sandamu and GMB Pension Fund chief executive officer, Taona Munzvandi, are being charged with $1 million fraud af allegedly duping their employer in a botched land deal.

Magisvongwe who serves as GMB Fund board chairperson was testifying against the three, telling the court the trio acquired Romany Farm knowing that the property had been acquired by the State. After getting funds from their employer, the trio converted it to personal use.

“I verbally advised Munzvandi to go to Deeds Office to check for possible caveats. He gave me feedback that Romany title deeds were clean. He then proceeded with the transaction procedurally and paid deposit,” Magosvongwe said.

“We assumed everything was in order but when I inquired after some time I was told that the land has not been transferred and that there was a small technicality. They had no procurement certificate from Ministry of Lands and Agriculture yet the third accused (Munzvandi) had told us that they had taken due diligence.”

Magosvongwe said Munzvandi did this in connivance with Sandamu and Mutandiro adding that it was so difficult to get hold of the latter who became evasive.

It is the State’s case that, sometime in the late 1990s, government embarked on the Land Reform Programme which involved compulsory acquisition of land for re-distribution.

In terms of the Land Acquisition Act Chapter 20:10 and through an extraordinary Government Gazette general notice 591 of 2001, the State, gave notice to acquire Romany Farm under deed of transfer number 5421.

It was registered under Romany Farm (Pvt) Ltd measuring 197, 37 hectares.

The Court heard that on April 30, 2013, Munzvandi, in connivance with Mutandiro and Sandamu, hatched a plan to defraud the Fund.

It is alleged that Munzvandi and Mutandiro entered into an agreement-of-sale of the said farm to GMB Pension Fund for $2, 5 million knowing that the farm had been acquired by the State.

Acting on the misrepresentation, GMB Pension Fund transferred $1 040 000 into Organs Resources (Pvt) Ltd Standard Chartered bank corporate account where Mutandiro is the director and signatory to the bank account.

As a result, GMB Pension Fund was prejudiced of $1 040 000 and nothing was recovered.

Magosvongwe told court that they are still trying to acquire the land.

The trial continues May 6.