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TIMB bosses in court for allegedly embezzling US$2,8 million

A Harare court on Thursday charged Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB), Chief Executive Officer Meanwell Gudu (52) with criminal abuse of office after he reportedly employed an unqualified person at the company.

Gudu also faced a second charge of corruption involving US$2, 8 million. In that matter he is jointly charged with TIMB former CEO Andrew Matibiri and Stuart Shayanyika former head of special projects at TIMB.

They were all granted Z$200,000.

As for the charge of criminal abuse of office, Gudu was released on Z$200,000 bail while his alleged accomplice, TIMB head of Human Capital and Administration Tsitsi Murahwa (36) whom he is jointly charged with, was given free bail.

In that matter it is the State’s case that on October 17, 2021 Gutu, placed an advert on Sunday Mail advertising a vacant position for Human Capital Partner- Talent and organizational Development post.

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The pre-requisite qualification was a Undergraduate Degree in Either Human Resources or Psychology , a distinct advantage being a relevant qualification in human resource development training or organisational development.

A total of 129 candidates applied , and on December 7 in the same year Murahwa shortlisted six candidates for interviews including Dorcas Bhebhe, who did not have the required pre-requisite qualifications.

After the interview, the three panelists recommended Bhebhe despite her shortcomings.

Bhebhe and Walter Rambwi were sent for psychometric tests which were conducted by the IPC after undergoing the interviews.

The Court heard Bhebhe was rated better than Rambwi.

Bhebhe was then appointed for the position with effect from January 03 2022.

Prosecutors allege that they acted inconsistently with their duties as public officers as they showed favor to Bhebhe and tempered with the reputation of the administration of TIMB.