Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Kuwaza dies in Harare fall

By Tendai Kamhungira and Blessings Mashaya

Former top civil servant and chairperson of the State Procurement Board (SPB), Charles Kuwaza ,63, plunged to his death yesterday after falling nine floors from a high-rise Harare building — in a tragic case which is suspected to have been suicide.

Former head of the State Procurement Board Charles Kuwaza
Former head of the State Procurement Board Charles Kuwaza

At the time of his death yesterday afternoon, he was on bail in a fraud case involving at least $1 million.

Eyewitnesses who spoke to the Daily News said Kuwaza had been in the company of a woman, believed to be his wife, when he died.

He had apparently left the woman in the parking lot at Club Chambers, while he went into the building to collect some documents to help with his defence in the fraud case.

One of the people who spoke to the Daily News and who works at a building close to Club Chambers said he had heard a “sickening thud” before he rushed there to see what was happening.

Upon getting there, he discovered the lifeless body of Kuwaza lying next to his car.

A Daily News crew arrived at the scene soon after, as police officers were making arrangements to take Kuwaza’s body to the mortuary.

Journalist and relative of Kuwaza, Kudzai, said the family was still gathering exact details surrounding his uncle’s death.

Kuwaza, also a former Zimbabwe Chess Federation president, was freed on $2 000 bail in absentia late last month after he fell ill, forcing the ensuing court proceedings to be conducted at a local clinic where he was receiving medical assistance.

He was facing one count of theft, two counts of fraud and two counts of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer.

Prosecutors alleged that during his time at the SPB, Kuwaza had engaged in several criminal activities which had prejudiced the State.

It was also alleged that he had received a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on behalf of the SPB, and that instead of handing the vehicle to the SPB, Kuwaza had allegedly converted it to his personal use — prejudiced the State of the vehicle valued at $120 000.

Police said yesterday that they were still investigating the circumstances which led to his death.

Kuwaza had previously served as the permanent secretary for the ministries of Finance and Defence between 1994 and 2000.

In 2001, he was appointed the chairperson of the SPB and operated from the President’s Office until he was sacked in October 2015.

He also served at one point as the deputy chairperson of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s board.

Kuwaza was a renowned chess player who not only distinguished himself nationally but also internationally, winning several awards. Daily News