Defence ministry fraud case stalls

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THE absence of an alleged fugitive, a top Defence ministry official, Davison Muvandi, who is at the centre of a cleaning services scam involving $300 000, has resulted in delays in completing investigations into the matter.
Muvandi, who is the director finance and human resource at the ministry, is the owner and signatory of Maid on Wheels, a company that was allegedly paid $306 135 for cleaning services that were never rendered.
When one of his alleged accomplices — Peter Muchakazi appeared in court yesterday, the prosecution indicated that investigations were still on-going before the case was remanded to February 13.
“This is a matter in which we intend to marry the accused person with dockets of other accused persons who have appeared in this court over similar allegations. Investigations are still pending and the State requires more time,” prosecutor George Manokore said.
Muvandi and Muchakazi are jointly charged with Kunofiwa Mervyn Madondo and a camp commandant in the Defence ministry, Luxwell Ngara, 51, who appeared in court this week.
The quartet allegedly connived to defraud the Defence ministry by misrepresenting that Maid on Wheels (Pvt) Ltd had rendered cleaning services yet in actual fact no such services had been received.
The court heard Muchakazi then fraudulently sourced fake invoices from Maid on Wheels which totalled $306 135.
Muchakazi allegedly originated a loose minute dated June 19, addressed to the director finance and human resource, Muvandi, who also turned out to be owner and signatory to Maid on Wheels accounts.
Procedurally, the whole transaction ought to have been prepared by the Procurement Management Unit and Muchakazi attached the fake invoices to the loose minute with instruction to process payment of $306 135.
Muchakazi did not attach the requisite award-of-tender letter specifying the job done and signed by the Procurement Management Unit.
The payment requests were posted to chief accountants identified as Jekiseni and Musekwa who acted on the misrepresentation and paid Maid on Wheels.
Investigations later revealed that the company had not rendered any cleaning services to the Defence ministry in the year under review.
The ministry suffered prejudice of $306 135 and nothing was recovered.

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