Fraud accused Zimstat boss Taguma Mahonde to spend weekend in prison
Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) Director General, Taguma Mahonde who was arrested this week for fraud was remanded in custody pending his bail ruling which has been set for Monday (02 October, 2023).
Mahonde was arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) for fraud after he allegedly claimed US$4,000 as school fees allowance for a child who does not exist.
Harare Magistrate Marewanazvo Gofa will hand down her bail ruling on Monday 2 October.
Mahonde is also facing a charge of contravening the Prevention of Corruption Act and an alternative charge of obstruction of justice.
The State opposed bail saying that Mahonde used threats to cover up for his crimes.
ZACC’s investigating officer Erica Chacha said they feared that if granted bail, Mahonde would interfere with witnesses.
Chacha said for example, Mahonde abused his position and suspended ZimStats’ internal audit head Claudius Matiza after he found out that he had reported his alleged crimes to ZACC.
“The degree of interference is so severe to the extent that the accused used his position as the director general of ZimStats to fire the witness (Matiza) from work. Realising that Matiza was working with ZACC, he found some dubious charges and caused the witness to be suspended,” Chacha said.
“He went further and phoned the witness on his mobile number, sending threats of future violence and I can quote the words, we are in possession of the recordings.
He (Mahonde) said: ‘You’ve reported me to ZACC. I will get bail like what the NSSA boss and the Clerk of Parliament did and once I’m back at work I will deal with you accordingly.’ So it’s my fear that if he’s granted bail, we won’t have any witness who will come to this court to testify.”
“If he is granted bail, he can go to work and continue with his plans and by the time the trial starts everything will be sanitised.”
It is noted that Mahonde allegedly received US$4,000 from ZimStats by claiming school fees allowance for a non-existent child.
The State further alleges that when ZACC’s investigations into his alleged corruption started in March this year, he tried to cover up the offence by refunding ZWL756,047.33 but it amounted to US$826 as he had used the interbank rate of 915.
Nehanda Radio, however, understands that Mahonde has been allegedly getting controversial benefits through school fees allowances while failing to produce receipts and invoices to acquit those funds as per standard requirement or good governance
According to the information at hand, he shockingly bought his service car, a Toyota Land Cruiser engine 1KD2030942, Chassis Number JTEBH9FJX0K029883, for US$300 for the services rendered in three years.
He was also given a Land Rover Discovery which was bought in 2021 leading to him owning two vehicles in five years which is against principles of good governance.