CHITUNGWIZA town clerk Godfrey Tanyanyiwa bought three commercial stands in one day, the investigating officer in the case in which he allegedly defrauded the council of over US$700 000 made the revelations while opposing bail yesterday.
Tanyanyiwa (43) will remain in custody until tomorrow when Harare magistrate Ms Anita Tshuma will rule on his bail application. Tanyanyiwa is facing 52 counts of criminal abuse of office, eight counts of fraud and a count of corruptly concealing from a principal personal interest in a transaction.
Leading evidence from Anti Corruption Commission senior investigating officer Mr Saviours Kufandada, the State led by Mr Oliver Marwa opposed bail arguing that Tanyanyiwa was a flight risk. Mr Kufandada said Tanyanyiwa had doctored minutes of a meeting held by the council to cover up for his offence.
Mr Kufandada said they required two to three weeks to investigate saying they needed to recover some documents, which they believe were already doctored.
“We have 66 counts now but they will balloon. It would be premature to release the accused, it would put a full stop on our investigations,” he said.
Mr Kufandada said Tanyanyiwa should be incarcerated for at least three weeks while they wound up their investigations. Mr Kufandada also said he feared for Tanyanyiwa’s safety saying Chitungwiza residents were likely to assault him over corruption like they did before.
He said Tanyanyiwa hired bouncers to protect him instead of fighting corruption.
“He wields a lot of power and authority. If it was in animal farm he would be the lion while the rest are small animals,” he said.
During cross-examination by Tanyanyiwa’s lawyer Mr Admire Rubaya, Mr Kufandada said Tanyanyiwa’s release will jeopardise investigations. He maintained that his release was not in the interest of justice and investigations.
Mr Marwa said: “The accused is being investigated on corruption related charges”.
He said a High Court judge had described corruption as an insidious evil, which is very difficult to detect and very difficult to investigate and argued that in the interest of justice, Tanyanyiwa should be detained in custody for a period that will enable the investigating officer to complete investigations.
Mr Rubaya said the State had already tried and convicted his client adding that the presumption of innocence was one of the pillars of bail applications. He also challenged the existence of interference and said the doctored documents did not come from Tanyanyiwa.
He said Tanyanyiwa was obliged to comply with any bail conditions including house arrest. Ms Tshuma remanded him in custody to tomorrow for bail ruling.
On the first fraud case, Mr Marwa said Tanyanyiwa, well knowing that he had no money to buy a house, hatched a plan to defraud Chitungwiza Municipality and took US$165 000 from council to buy a house in Chisipite.
On charges of corruptly concealing a personal interest in a transaction from a principal, the State says during the period extending from September to December last year Tanyanyiwa allegedly offered the Chisipite house through his estate agent for rental to Chitungwiza Municipality director of urban planning, Mr Conrad Muchesa.
It is alleged Tanyanyiwa, with the intention to deceive, did not disclose his personal interest in this house to his principal (Chitungwiza Municipality) and council ended up paying him US$1 300 per month for five months as rental for his property.
As a result, council suffered a prejudice of US$6 500.
The town clerk is also accused of criminal abuse of duty after he allegedly corruptly acquired three commercial stands using names of three different shelf companies.
He reportedly prejudiced his employer of US$170 000 when he allegedly diverted funds meant for the purchase of three Toyota Fortuners for other senior officials to buy his Toyota Land Cruiser V8 for US$170 000.
During the period extending from September to December last year on 50 different occasions, Tanyanyiwa is accused of corruptly authorising cash payments amounting to U$337 253 to himself and other top council officials.
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