HARARE – Godfrey Gandawa, a former Higher and Tertiary Education deputy minister, is now on the run after he failed to appear before High Court judge Tawanda Chitapi yesterday to answer to allegations of abusing over $450 000 from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef).
Prosecutor Clemence Chimbari applied for the issuance of a warrant of arrest against the former Zanu PF Magunje Constituency Member of Parliament, after his name was called three times outside the courtroom and he was not present.
Chitapi had to postpone the hearing of the matter for the other two accomplices — Shepard Honzeri and Nicholas Mapute — to November 30.
The trio was initially jointly charged with self-exiled former Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo, who was issued with a warrant of apprehension, after he failed to appear for his trial in May this year.
Gandawa and Moyo were sympathisers of the Generation 40 faction, a camp that resisted President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ascendency to power.
Moyo skipped the country’s jurisdiction in November last year just before former president Robert Mugabe was forced to resign after a military intervention.
According to the court papers, Gandawa is alleged to have failed or neglected to ensure that the National Manpower Advisory Council (Namaco) was appointed to advise the Zimdef trustees on the use of the government’s fund.
It is the State’s contention that Moyo was equally to blame, claiming that as Zimdef’s trustee he was also mandated to issue directives pertaining to the use of the funds on the advice of Namaco.
However, upon being appointed a minister, Moyo is said to have failed or neglected to appoint members of the council as required by law hence the State’s argument that both men allegedly failed or neglected their duties in furtherance of a criminal scheme.
In respect of count one, Gandawa is alleged to have instructed Richard Gotora to originate a memorandum to Zimdef’s chief executive officer and accounting officer, Fredrick Mandizvidza — who was initially charged with the group, before the State dropped the charges — purporting that his ministry required funding to purchase three dimension printers for eight polytechnics and two industrial training colleges.
The State alleged, Gandawa single-handedly recommended and approved the memorandum on the same day, leading to the release of $95 000 which was later paid to Wisebone Trading (Private) Limited, owned by Walter Chasara, who is Gandawa’s uncle.
Apparently, Gandawa is alleged to have then instructed Chasara to transfer the $95 000 into his firm called Fuzzy Technologies (Private) Limited where he later made withdrawals.
In December 2015, Gandawa and the other accomplices allegedly connived and originated a memorandum requesting $107 525 funding for the presidential computerisation programme. The memorandum was then recommended by Moyo on December 18, 2015.
According to the State, the quotations for the computers were sourced by Gandawa from his company, Fuzzy Technologies and from his uncles’ firms Wisebone Trading (Private) Limited and Archmate and Great Exploits (Private) Limited.
It is the State’s contention that the group misrepresented to Zimdef’s accountant Upenyu Gweme that the ministry had requested for funding to purchase 170 computers.
The money was released and part of it was used by Moyo to buy tri-cycles which were distributed to chiefs and headmen in his Tsholotsho North Constituency.
Gandawa is also accused of failing to disclose his personal interest in Fuzzy Technologies, a company he co-directs with his daughter Clarence Erene.
Through these actions, Zimdef was allegedly prejudiced of over $450 000.