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Former Zinara boss denied bail

By Prosper Dembedza

Former Zinara boss Frank Chitukutuku’s freedom bid hit a brick wall yesterday after his bail application was dismissed.

Zinara former chief executive, Mr Frank Chitukutuku unilaterally increased his salary from July to December 2013
Zinara former chief executive, Mr Frank Chitukutuku unilaterally increased his salary from July to December 2013

Chitukutuku is facing six charges of criminal abuse of office after he allegedly awarded road rehabilitation contracts worth US$20 million to a colleague without following legal processes.

In dismissing the bail application, Harare magistrate Mr Francis Mapfumo said Chitukutuku’s bid to change his name when a trial was ongoing showed that he was trying to run away from the charges. He said Chitukutuku’s actions would destroy evidence since all his properties were registered in his original name.

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“The accused person is a flight risk and still has influence at Zinara where his friends and family members are employed,” said Mr Mapfumo.

Mr Mapfumo deferred the matter to November 7.

Allegations against Chitukutuku arose between January 2009 and May 31 2016 when he allegedly influenced awarding of contracts worth US$20 million for rehabilitation of roads in Zaka, Buhera, Mhondoro-Ngezi, Murewa and Goromonzi.

The contracts were awarded to Fremus Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd without following procurement procedures.

According to the case outline, Chitukutuku had the power over disbursement of road rehabilitation funds.

“The accused, in connivance with former Zinara technical director Moses Julius Juma, corruptly imposed the awarding of contracts for rehabilitation of road works for Rural District Councils without following procurement procedures,” read the court papers in part.

“The accused acted contrary to his duties as a public officer for the purpose of showing favour to Fremus Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd, a company owned by his ZAOGA church associate, Freddy Chimbari.”

It is further alleged that Chitukutuku and Juma would threaten to withdraw road rehabilitation funds to Rural District Councils that sought to award road contracts to other contractors ahead of Fremus Enterprises.

According to the charge sheet, Chimbari purchased a US$30 000 residential stand in Glen Lorne for Chitukutuku as a “kick back” for awarding his company contracts.

Chimbari is also said to have, on different dates, deposited a total US$114 000 in Chitukutuku’s CBZ account, as a return of favour for the contracts. The Herald