Nyore Madzianike Senior Court Reporter
A former accountant in the Ministry of Defence, who is facing charges of stealing US$20 million from the ministry, was last week denied bail.
Simbarashe Zvineyi (36) lost his bail application after Harare magistrate Mr Francis Mapfumo ruled him a flight risk.
The court found that the evidence available might induce him to flee.
Zvineyi is alleged to have used the US$20 million to buy four houses in Harare, 25 taxis, four top-of-the-range vehicles and channelled part of the money onto the parallel market for foreign currency.
He is being charged with fraud and money laundering.
The State, led by Netsai Mushayabasa, alleged that between January 2010 and December 31 last year, Zvineyi and Danison Muvandi – who was a top accounting officer in the same ministry – hatched a plan to defraud the Ministry of Defence.
On several occasions, Muvandi, who remains at large, allegedly used his position and influence within the ministry to misrepresent that there were classified operations to be carried out and would allegedly instruct the chief accountant, Lameck Jackson, to deposit funds into Zvineyi’s accounts at NMB Bank, CBZ, CABS and Steward Bank, using Zvineyi’s vendor number.
There were no such classified operations to be conducted.
Acting on the misrepresentation, Jackson reportedly transferred money ranging from US$40 000 to US$66 000 during the same period into Zvineyi’s bank accounts.
The pair would then allegedly share the loot.
Investigations carried out so far reveal that the Ministry of Defence suffered prejudice of US$20 million.
Only four vehicles have been recovered.
Zvineyi, acting in connivance with Muvandi and after they allegedly defrauded the Ministry of Defence, reportedly laundered the proceeds of the offence by acquiring properties that include more than 25 taxis, a Jeep Wrangler, an Isuzu KB300, a Honda Fit and a Toyota Vitz.
He also allegedly bought houses in Tynwald, Aspendale, Avonlea and Borrowdale.
Muvandi allegedly acquired various properties, some of which have been recovered.