via Bulawayo24 NEWS | Former Air Zimbabwe bosses struck off remand 25 August 2014 by Fungai Lupande
Former Air Zimbabwe bosses, Grace Pfumbidzayi and Innocent Mavhunga, embroiled in an alleged insurance scam were today struck off remand after State failed to proceed with trial.
The trial of the pair who are accused of defrauding the airline of €5 175 593 and US$502 748 was scheduled to start today but prosecutor Ms Valerie Ngoma told the court that investigations were not yet complete.
Subsequently, Ms Ngoma failed to serve defence counsel with State papers prompting Harare magistrate, Mr Hosea Mujaya,to refuse further remand of the two.
Mr Mujaya advised Ms Ngoma to put her house in order and to proceed by way of summons when ready for trial.
AirZim former secretary Pfumbidzayi (49) and acting group chief executive officer Mavhunga (53) are jointly charged on fraud charges.
Ms Ngoma alleges that an anomaly was discovered by former AirZim board chairman Ozias Bvute, on amounts paid between April 2009 and April 2013, to a company called Navistar Insurance Brokers (Private) Limited in respect of aviation insurance premiums.
It is alleged Navistar Insurance Company was enlisted to provide aviation and insurance cover, without going to tender, while services of other existing companies were terminated.
Pfumbidzayi, however, is currently on trial together with former group CEO Peter Chikumba (59) facing separate charges for allegedly inflating aviation insurance premiums.
Inflated payments were allegedly made to Colemont Reinsurance Brokers (Private) Limited and Reinsurance Brokers (Private) Limited, both United Kingdom-based companies.
The firm allegedly released €15 452, 93 to Navistar, €10 607 859, 22 to the two British companies, while they pocketed €5 895 695, 49.
In May 2009, it is alleged the duo and their three alleged accomplices, Navistar Insurance bosses, Givemore Nderere (45), Vukile Hlupo (45) and Orten Mawire (60) misrepresented to Air Zimbabwe that there was an urgent need for the airline to pay $142 300 to the European Commission to dodge sanctions.
They allegedly converted the money to their own use.
The court heard that Pfumbidzayi and Mavhunga originated fictitious debit notes in the sum of $1 659 276, 58 in 2012.
The money was purportedly requested for the aviation insurance premiums for two leased A320 airbuses.
The transaction was reportedly intercepted by auditors, but the airline had already released $360 448, 68, the court heard.
It is alleged the duo further claimed $800 000 for aviation insurance, but the board later discovered that the premiums were fully covered during the period.
However the trial of Pfumbidzayi and Chikumba jointly charged with criminal abuse of duty as public officers and fraud has already started.