Prosper Dembedza Court Correspondent
The trial of former Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) board chairman Albert Mugabe, who is facing charges of authorising and tendering false letters of undertaking to set off a mortgage loan facility to CBZ bank without the board’s approval, kicked off yesterday.
Mugabe pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Proceedings began with Mugabe’s lawyer Mr Admire Rubaya reading his client’s defence outline to Harare magistrate Mr Lazini Ncube. Mr Rubaya told the court that his client never abused his duty as a public officer in the manner alleged or at all.
“He did not act in any unlawful manner as alleged, neither did he intentionally do anything for purposes of showing favour to Engineer Nancy Chamisa Masiyiwa or disfavour to any other person,” reads the defence outline.
Mr Rubaya said his client will challenge the State to prove as a matter of fact that he authored and signed any false letters of undertaking to CBZ Bank Limited advising that the Zinara board had specifically agreed to set off Masiyiwa’s mortgage loan in the manner alleged.
“The accused will further challenge the extraction of evidence from such alleged documents as well as production of such alleged documentary evidence in the absence of strict compliance with the mandatory requirements for production of such documents at law.”
Mr Rubaya further stated that his client denied that he acted in a manner designed to show favour to Masiyiwa. He said his client asserts that these are malicious allegations peddled against him basing on concocted and fabricated documentation not proved to be linked to him at law and in fact.
“He will state that he is just a victim of political grand scheming and posturing by those involved in his persecution, yet there is no evidence at all that he committed the alleged offence,” reads Mugabe’s defence outline.
The court heard that on March 30, 2017, the Zinara human resources committee deliberated, through a round robin, resolutions on the acquisition of a mortgage loan from CBZ Bank in respect of Masiyiwa.
The State alleged that the six-member human resources committee unanimously recommended to Zinara board for approval to secure a mortgage loan scheme not exceeding $300 000 with CBZ Bank for the purpose of housing loan benefit as per Zinara human resources policy manual.
It is alleged that on April 5, 2017, Mugabe wrote a letter of undertaking for mortgage loan in respect of Masiyiwa to CBZ Bank, advising that Zinara board had authorised her to enter into a housing loan scheme with CBZ and that Zinara undertook to pay off the mortgage facility if her contract expired during subsistence of the mortgage loan. The State argues that Mugabe knew very well that the Zinara board had not approved the loan facility.
The court heard that on April 11, 2017 Mugabe wrote another letter to CBZ advising that the Zinara board had approved to set off the $300 000 mortgage loan facility in the event Masiyiwa accrued arrears and termination of her contract of employment.
Mugabe is accused of doing so knowing that the Zinara board had not authorised such a move.