By Mary Taruvinga
FORMER Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) chief executive officer (CEO) Patrick Mavhura was Tuesday granted $5 000 bail after languishing in jail for four days.
He is jointly charged with former ZBC head finance, administration and human resources, Benania Shumba who was also freed on $5 000 bail.
The State alleges that the two connived to swindle the broadcaster out of over US$250 000 and Mavhura is likely to be charged with eighteen more counts.
Harare magistrate, Vongai Guuriro Muchuchuti ruled that stringent reporting conditions can allay state’s fears that the two were likely to abscond.
“Both accused persons are ordered to report twice a week at their nearest police stations and not to interfere with witnesses.
“They are also ordered to surrender their passports with the clerk of court and to come back to court on October 8,” said Muchuchuti.
The State had opposed bail on grounds that there was overwhelming evidence against the two.
Investigating officer, John Mvundura said Mavhura was likely to interfere with witnesses who were his subordinates.
“More cases have been reported against Mavhura, about 18 cases which involve large sums of money. One of those involves 180,000 Euros and another US$18,000. If released on bail, he may flee the jurisdiction of this court,” Mvundura said.
According to the state, on September 1, acting ZBC CEO Wisdom Hombarume asked acting chief finance officer Maxwell Judah to give him a report on the state of the broadcaster’s finances.
Hombarume allegedly discovered that Mavhura and Shumba had siphoned money paid by Totalmedia and Adrenalin advertising agencies.
On December 12 last year, the duo signed two separate contracts with Totalmedia, who made an advance payment of US$100 000.
It was agreed that ZBC would in turn supply value-added advertising airtime amounting to US$149 500 to Totalmedia.
On January 19 this year, Shumba allegedly wrote to Totalmedia asking the agency to deposit the funds into a Mugiya and Macharaga Law Chambers Ecobank trust account instead of a ZBC account.
The court heard the money was later withdrawn and used to purchase Mavhura’s residential stand at number 98 William Pollet Road, Philadelphia, Borrowdale in Harare.
Another charge is that on February 1, Shumba and Mavhura signed a similar contract with Adrenalin, who made an advance payment of US$100 000.
On the same day, it is alleged, Shumba again originated a letter directing the firm to deposit the cash into the lawyer’s trust account from where it was again withdrawn.
Mavhura and Shumba will be back in court on October 8.