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Mike Chimombe, Mpofu to langusih behind bars until July 16

By Court Correspondent

CONTROVERSIAL business partners, Mike Chimombe and Moses Mpofu facing fraud charges will know their fate on July 16 when Magistrate Marewanazvo Gofa is expected to hand down her ruling on their bail application.

The two have been in jail for close to three weeks following their arrest on allegations of swindling the government US$7 million in a botched Presidential Goat Scheme.

Henry Chapwanya, the investigating officer in the matter concluded his evidence on Tuesday telling the court that Mpofu was lying about where he stays.

Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) officers insist there is an unfinished house at the address he provided but through his lawyer, Tapson Dzvetero, Mpofu said he stays in a cottage.

Chapwanya said the cottage belongs to Mpofu’s neighbour.

“I cannot believe he stays there. It’s a straight lie, your worship,” he said.

Chapwanya and another IO, Gamuchirai Zimunhu opposed bail, telling the court that the two were difficult to arrest.

Zimunhu said the two had already interfered with justice after they commented on their case before posting on social media.

“Public disorder may arise because people will no longer trust the justice system in that ZACC catches and releases people.
“Accused may abscond from court on Tuesday 25 June we spent the greater part of the day manhunting for them and they were not to their place of residence.

“We called them on Monday after they left. When Mr Chapwanya (the other IO) called Mr Mugiya to advise him that we wanted to see his client, Mr Chimombe said was out of Harare and Mpofu was at his farm in Zvimba.

“He promised to bring them before 6 pm but they didn’t come and Mugiya promised to bring them on Tuesday and we waited for them until mid-day.

“Mr Chapwanya advised Mugiya that his clients had turned hostile and teams were deployed to manhunt the accused person,” she said.

Allegations are that the duo forged a ZIMRA Tax Clearance certificate and a NSSA compliance certificate for Mpofu’s company Blackdeck Private Limited and attached them in a bidding document submitted to the Ministry of Lands for a tender for the supply and delivery of goats under the Presidential Goat Pass-on Scheme.

“Acting on the misrepresentation, the Ministry of Lands contracted Blackdeck Private Limited on the 3rd of November 2021.

“The Ministry transferred ZWL901 294 200 and ZW$698 705 800 on the 21st of April 2022 and the 29th of June 2022 respectively into their bank account.

“The total amount was ZWL1.6 billion and was equivalent to US$7 712 197.
“Following delays in the delivery of the goats, the Ministry of Lands officials made several engagements with the accused persons.

“The accused persons misrepresented that they had mobilized 32 500 goats across the provinces which were ready to be distributed to the beneficiaries,” the court heard.

However, a verification process revealed that the accused persons only had 3 713 goats in their holding sites.

The Ministry cancelled the contract on the 29th of August 2022, following the discovery.

The accused persons only supplied a total of 4 208 goats valued at US$331 445 and went on to convert US$7 380 751 to their personal use.

Nothing was recovered.

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