By Mary Taruvinga
A SENIOR bureaucrat in president Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office lost $15,000 to his employee, a Harare court heard Monday.
Bradah Syvester Maunganidze, a permanent secretary in the office of the president and cabinet, was reportedly fleeced while trying to pay find cash to pay staff at his farm.
Court heard that he lost the money after he gave his debit card to a staffer who convinced him that he could get cash to pay the 17 employees at the farm and rural home.
Maunganidze instructed the staffer to withdraw $3,000 which was enough for salaries, but the latter allegedly went on to withdraw $15,000 and then lied that the debit card had been stolen.
“I had no cash and my employees needed hard currency as their salaries,” the official told court.
“My employee, Simbarashe Muzambirwa told me that he could get cash as he had connections at N Richards Masvingo as well as OK Zimbabwe and Pick n Pay.
“I left him with my debit card on May 22 and I was shocked the following day when I received a bank alert showing that $5,000 was withdrawn from my account.
“It was around 8:30 pm when the first alert came in and, three minutes later, $15 000 had been withdrawn from my account.”
Maunganidze told court that he then phoned his bank and managed to stop the transactions although only $5,000 could be retrieved.
However, the accused employee was allegedly not arrested by the police.
“I believe the police are working in cahoots with the culprits who steal from people,” said Maunganidze.
“I was told that they arrested male suspects in connection with this case, and that my employee was freed the same day he was arrested.”
He added; “I was actually shocked to see a female suspect in the dock.
“I don’t even know her, and I did not get any explanation with regards to how they arrested this (particular) suspect.
Court heard that one Tariro Duncan was arrested over the scam.
She appeared before Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa facing fraud and money laundering charges.
According to court papers, with intent to deceive the government official’s employee, Duncan and accomplices still at large, misrepresented that they had cash and wanted him to exchange in a swipe transaction.
It is alleged that Muzambirwa gave Duncan the PIN number for the card before she transferred $15,000 into her account and disappeared.
However, Duncan, who is being represented by Job Sikhala, denied the allegations saying she is an Ecocash agent.
She told court that she never saw Muzambirwa and has no clue of his arrangement with the Maunganidze.
The trial continues this Tuesday.