Defence ministry officials barred from offices

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© DEFENCE ministry procurement director Peter Muchakazi and an accountant, Mervyn Kunofiwa Madondo, were yesterday barred from entering Defence House after they appeared in court facing charges of criminal abuse.
Muchakazi was released on $5 000 bail while Kunofiwa paid $3 000, and both were ordered to continue residing at their current addresses, report thrice a week to the nearest police station, surrender passports, not to interfere with witnesses and not to visit Defence House unless accompanied by the investigating officer.
They appeared before Francis Mapfumo, who remanded them to January 23 pending finalisation of investigations.
Prosecutor Audrey Chogumaira told the court that between March and June last year, the two connived with Danison Muvandi — who is on the run — and hatched a plan to deceive the ministry.
They allegedly misrepresented facts purporting the Defence ministry had received cleaning services from Maids on Wheels (Pvt) Ltd, yet no such services had been rendered.
The court heard that 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 resources, Muvandi, who also turned out to be the 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 instructions 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 allegedly suffered prejudice of $306 135 and nothing was recovered.

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