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Arrest warrant issued for ex-CIO boss

HARARE- A former deputy-director of the notorious Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) who is facing fraud charges, was on Friday issued with a warrant of arrest after failing to turn up for trial.

The head of the CIO Happyton Bonyongwe (left), army chief Constantine Chiwenga (centre) in discussion with Robert Mugabe.
The head of the CIO Happyton Bonyongwe (left), army chief Constantine Chiwenga (centre) in discussion with Robert Mugabe.

Lovemore Mukandi fled to Canada 11 years ago, but was arrested in September on arrival at the Harare International Airport. Magistrate Ms Esthere Chivasa issued Mukandi with a warrant of arrest after he failed to show up at court.

Mukandi, faces fraud charges involving millions of Zimbabwe dollars. According to the State, Mukandi and his accomplices, Rick Mubvumbi, former chief transport officer, David Nyabango, former chief administration officer in the same organisation and a businessman Mohamed Ahmed Meman, were removed from remand in 1999.

The State was ordered to proceed by way of summons. It is alleged that in 2000, the State was ready to commence trial and failed to locate Mukandi in a bid to furnish him with a trial date.

The State successfully applied for Mukandi’s warrant of arrest. The State said his three accomplices were yet to be summoned to court since they were waiting for Mukandi’s arrest.

It is the State’s case that in 1996, the CIO undertook a project to construct five low-density houses in Harare so as to generate income through leasing of properties. It is alleged Mukandi was given the task to implement the project and then asked Mubvumbi and Nyabando to assist him.

The trio then corruptly contracted African Timber and Builder suppliers Pvt Ltd, which was owned by Meman without going to tender.

Meman, it is alleged, submitted a quotation, of Z$16 106 559 for the construction of the houses and later subcontracted the project to Mubvumbi’s company, Mubcon Engineers and Contractors. Mubvumbi, it is alleged, never declared his interest to his superiors.

It is the State’s case that between 1996 and 1998, the quartet misrepresented to the organisation that Z$16 106 559 which was initially quoted by Meman was insufficient to construct the houses.

The CIO was forced to top up another Z$16 773 784,32. It then made payments totalling Z$32 879 343,32 to Meman’s companies in the form of cheques, it is alleged.

After the payment, the State alleges that the quartet started withdrawing money from one of the company’s account through purchasing of houses, building materials, household goods and payment of services rendered with cheques.

Mukandi corruptly benefited from the scam and bought building materials worth Z$15 826,16, a stand in Mandara and two vehicles valued at Z$1 630 000,00, it is alleged. Mubvumbi, the State says, acquired security doors for his private office and bought a lorry. He benefited Z$728 900,00 from the scam.

Nyabando was given Z$1,7 million by Meman to build his house and he also bought bricks, glasses for his house and paid for a garden landscape. The State further said that Meman also benefited from the scam as he bought three houses, paid Z$230 000 for tourist expenses and gave four people loans using the money.