Nyore Madzianike Senior Court Reporter
A FORMER accountant in the Ministry of Defence, who is facing charges of stealing US$20 million from the ministry, has been denied bail. He is alleged to have used the money to buy four houses in Harare, 25 taxis, four cars and channelled part of the money to the parallel foreign currency market.
Simbarashe Zvineyi (36) was denied bail Harare magistrate Mr Francis Mapfumo, who strongly believe he was likely to abscond his trial.
In denying Zvineyi bail, the court also considered that there was overwhelming evidence against him, which might induce him to flee the jurisdiction of the court.
Zvineyi is being charged with fraud and money laundering.
The State led by Netsai Mushayabasa alleges that between January 2010 and December 31, 2019, Zvineyi and Danison Muvandi — who was a top accounting officer in the same ministry — hatched a plan to defraud the Ministry of Defence.
On several occasions, Muvandi, who is still at large, used his position and influence within the ministry to misrepresent that there were classified operations to be carried out.
He would allegedly instruct the chief accountant, Lameck Jackson, to deposit funds into Zvineyi’s accounts at NMB Bank, CBZ, CABS and Steward Bank.
There were no such classified operations to be conducted.
Acting on the misrepresentation, Jackson reportedly transferred into Zvineyi’s bank accounts money ranging from US$40 000 to US$66 000 during the same period.
The pair would then allegedly share the loot.
From investigations carried out so far, the Ministry of Defence is said to have suffered a prejudice of US$20 million and only four vehicles have been recovered.
Zvineyi reportedly laundered the proceeds of the offence by acquiring properties, which include more than 25 taxis, a Jeep Wrangler, an Isuzu KB300, a Honda Fit and a Toyota Vitz.
He also allegedly bought houses in Tynwald, Aspindale, Avonlea and Borrowdale. Muvandi also allegedly acquired various properties some of which have been recovered.