By Paul Katanda
THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZAAC) has been accused of political gamesmanship and grandstanding following the arrest of controversial Gokwe-Nembudziya parliamentarian, Justice Mayor Wadyajena.
Wadyajena (41) and four Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) officials were dragged before Harare magistrate, Stenford Mambanje, answering to charges of fraud and money laundering worth over US$5 million.
Other accused persons are; Pius Manamike (54), Maxmore Njanji (47), Fortunate Maloi (34) and Chiedza Danha (39).
In submitting bail application Thursday, defence lawyer Oliver Marwa, representing Wadyajena, took potshots at ZAAC for unlawful arrest of his client.
“There cannot be anything more evil than what ZAAC is doing against the fourth accused. This court is now being dragged into some political games and the public is crying that ZAAC is arresting and releasing people; it has turned into a ‘catch-and-release’ game,” said Marwa.
By the time of publishing, the bail application hearing had adjourned to 15:30pm for possible ruling.
On their initial court appearance Wednesday, the quartet was remanded in custody pending a determination today.
Allegations are that sometime in 2019, the four hatched a plan to defraud Cottco through fictitious purchases of goods purportedly for use by the parastatal.
Accused allegedly opened a shelf company called Pierpont Moncroix, which was later recommended by Molai to supply Cottco three million High Carbon Bale Ties valued at US$2,6 million to carter for the 2019 ginning season.
The name of the company created by the accused was the same as that of a Mauritian firm, so as to mislead Cottco.
On March 14, 2019, accused persons approved a fraudulent Purchase Order in favour of Pierpont Moncroix Mauritius valued at US$2 528 000 purporting that the company would supply 3 200 000 bale ties.
Instead of importing the bales, Wadyajena and his accomplices allegedly imported 25 haulage trucks from an American company called Giant Equipment in 2019 and 2020.
They registered the trucks under Mayor Logistics, which is owned by Wadyajena.
In November 2019, Manamike and Njanji allegedly issued a second purchase order on behalf of the Cottco company, which was valued at US$1 106 000 to buy bale ties from Giant Equipment company again.
The order was then approved though Giant Equipment had failed to deliver the first order but no bales were also delivered as the money was allegedly transferred to Afrozurich International in a currency swap deal.
Later in November 2021, Molai allegedly wrote an email to the Cottco’s treasurer in which she requested the company to pay a deposit of US$2 500 000 for the purchase of other bales from Energy Park company.
On November 23 2021, US$363 900 being part of transfer to CBZ Energy Park Account of US$750 000 was later transferred to Maropafadzo Energy (Pvt) Ltd Ecobank account and US$421 000 was transferred to Energy Park Bulk Fuels (Pvt) Ltd the following day.
On March 8 2022 and March 14 this year, two further payments were allegedly processed from Cottco’s CABS Account of US$450 000 and US$1 000 000 to Maropafadzo Energy company as requested by the supplier.
The court papers indicate that a total of US$2 200 000 was paid against the order of US$4 578 078.
The court also heard that investigations proved that Energy Park (Pvt) Ltd is in the fuel industry and sells fuel in bulk and direct to retailers and not bale ties.
It is alleged that payments to Maropafadzo Energy company being part of the order for bale ties were further transferred into various accounts of individuals and corporates both local and international for procurement of services, which have nothing to do with the purpose for which the funds were transferred.