via ‘Mutodi habitually withdrew money for personal use’. NEWSDAY 18 June 2014 by Phillip Chidaenzi
FORMER National Housing Development Trust (NHDT) projects manager Chandafira Pasipamire told the magistrates’ court yesterday that his boss, businessman-cum-musician Energy Mutodi, once collected $10 000 from the trust’s coffers in the presence of two police officers claiming that he had been involved in an accident where four people had died, and the money was never recovered.
Pasipamire was testifying in a case where Mutodi and fellow NHDT trustee Boniface Chikono are being charged of swindling homeseekers of $588 787 in failed housing development schemes.
He told presiding magistrate Hosea Mujaya that Mutodi was in the habit of collecting cash from the trust’s offices which would have been paid as subscription fees by members of the trust and converting it to his personal use.
“He was involved in an accident that killed four members of the same family while he was driving his Hummer vehicle,” Pasipamire said.
“He came to the office looking shaken in the company of two police officers from Gutu and asked the cashier if he had any money. When the cashier said he had
$12 000, he requested $10 000. I asked him what he wanted to do with the cash and he just said he wanted to do certain things.”
Pasipamire said the incident happened in 2011, but no further details about the accident were heard after that.
He was speaking during cross–examination by Mutodi’s lawyer Witness Chinyama, who had asked him if the accused ever took any money from the trust’s coffers.
It also emerged during trial that Mutodi was the sole signatory to the trust’s bank accounts from which he would withdraw cash and allegedly convert it to personal use.
Mutodi is said to have lured over 16 000 civil servants to join and contribute to the housing trust. Deduction orders were given to the Salary Service Bureau to deduct certain amounts of money on a monthly basis from civil servants who had joined the trust. It is alleged that sometime in 2007, Mutodi changed the account signing arrangement, and made himself the sole signatory.
At least $588 787 was paid in by the complainants and, contrary to his promises, he allegedly withdrew all the money and converted it to his own use.