By Victor Maphosa
Police in Bulawayo are seeking a Zupco employee suspected of defrauding the transport utility of $29 054 by claiming allowances for non-existent employees.
The investigation started when irregularities were noted on the voucher she presented at the company’s cash office.
Giving details, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said: “Zimbabwe Republic Police Mzilikazi is keen to interview a Bulawayo-based ZUPCO official, Rossetta Muzvidziwa, in connection with a case of fraud involving $ 29 054, 00.
“On April 8 this year, the suspect presented a food allowance claim supposedly for point inspectors on deployment. Some irregularities were noted on the voucher prompting an internal investigation which revealed that claims for non-existent employees were submitted and processed prejudicing the institution of the stated amount.”
Since Zupco’s revival in Harare, Bulawayo and other cites, several employees have either arrested or fired on allegations of fraud. Conductors committed most known breaches.
Last year more than 100 bus conductors were fired by Zupco over theft of undisclosed funds through a ticket scam.
The conductors would issue the same tickets to different passengers, enabling them to pocket large sums of money. The rot resulted in the firm strengthening its inspectorate teams and planting informers.
And systems were changed so that passengers now have to hand back their used ticket which is scrunched up and bagged to prevent reuse but eligible enough to check that every passenger received their own ticket.
Investigations by The Herald established that in some cases, a conductor would pocket fares for the whole 75-seater bus after issuing old tickets.
Zupco had to deploy informers on the routes, who would board buses just like any other passenger, to monitor the scam. The informers were part of the Zupco “hit squad” which falls under the inspectorate.
Most conductors were arrested following tip-offs by whistle-blowers. There were also allegations that conductors would falsely announce faults on tap machines, with a view to compel commuters to pay cash, which ended up in individuals’ pockets. The Herald