$US168k fraud accused ZMDC bosses trial commences

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By Mary Taruvinga

ZIMBABWE Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) acting general manager Luke Akino (57) and former board chair David Murangari (72) Tuesday told court that the mining company was responsible for the charges they are facing.

The two are being accused of corruptly awarding a $168 000 consultancy services deal to Mashungupa and Muhita Engineering Projects which without going to tender.

For that, they are being charged with criminal abuse of office.

Their trial began Tuesday before Harare Regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya.

It is their defence that they never strayed from their duties.

Prosecutor Michael Reza alleged that they contracted the company, which is run by their acquaintance towards the resuscitation of Jena Mines, a subsidiary of ZMDC.

“As the chairperson of the board of the company which is the parent company that owns Jena Mine, he did no more than his role of oversight over the actions of management.

“The management was instructed by the board to do what was necessary to procure the services of a consultant to look into the engineering problems and one of the names which came up was that of Mashungupa and Muhira,” said Akino’s lawyer.

Murangari echoed the same sentiments saying he should not be individually charged for decisions taken by the ZMDC as a company by virtue of board decisions.

He said when management continued reporting failures at Jena Mine, the board instructed management to do what was necessary to procure the services of a consultant.

“The management reported that tender process had been done and when delays occurred, the board maintained its oversight role and gave directions to ensure the proper conclusion of the contract,” he said.
Akino also denied advising legal, audit and risk committee that he was considering the services of an independent contractor.

He said the decision to invite an informal tender was the responsibility of management not an individual.

The State opened its case by leading evidence from Procurement Regulation Authority of Zimbabwe (Praz) chief executive officer Nyasha Chizu who said the informal tender was supposed to be floated in the local press for 15 days.

Chizu said he joined Praz in 2017 and was unable to give first-hand account of what occurred prior to his appointment.

He however told the court that it was the duty of an accounting officer to evaluate companies that intended to do consultancy for Jena Mines.

But Farai Mushoriwa who was representing the accused said Chizu’s testimony was not credible because he was not privy to inside information.

Trial continues Wednesday.