BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
The trial of former Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) board chairperson, Albert Mugabe, on criminal abuse of office charges, was yesterday postponed to a later date after the chief witness and complainant in the matter resigned, making it difficult for him to represent the State.
The court yesterday heard that Zinara ex-acting board chair Wilfred Ramwi had tendered his resignation and the State asked to be given more time to allow the new board to be appointed and then second another person to represent the company.
Prosecutor Nyikadzino Machingura also told the court that the company secretary Mathlene Mujokoro, who was also expected to represent the company, had tendered her resignation as well, making it difficult to commence trial.
But Mugabe’s defence team led by Admire Rubaya opposed the postponement, arguing that changing complainants and witnesses at this stage constitutes new investigations because the statements needed to be changed.
The matter was, however, stood down for the State to confirm with the company the time it will take for the postponement to be effected.
Mugabe, who is accused of writing a false letter to CBZ Bank, advising them that the board had agreed to set off a $300 000 mortgage loan to former chief executive Nancy Chamisa-Masiyiwa.
Mugabe last week requested further particulars which include the agreement documents of the mortgage between Zinara and CBZ Bank and the minutes of a meeting that was held in 2017 that gave birth to the mortgage agreement.
It is the State’s case that on March 30, 2017, the Zinara human resources committee deliberated through a round robin resolution, the acquisition of a mortgage loan from CBZ Bank in respect of Chamisa-Masiyiwa and the six-member human resources committee unanimously resolved to recommend to the Zinara board to approve the security of a mortgage loan scheme not exceeding $300 000 with CBZ Bank for the purpose of housing loan benefit as per Zinara human resources policy manual.
The State alleges that on April 5, 2017, Mugabe wrote a letter of undertaking for the mortgage loan in respect of Chamisa-Masiyiwa to CBZ, advising them that the Zinara board had authorised her to enter into a housing loan scheme with CBZ Bank and that Zinara had undertaken to pay off the mortgage facility if her contract expires with the mortgage loan still existing, knowing that the Zinara board had not approved the loan facility.
On April 6, 2017, Mugabe wrote another letter to CBZ Bank, advising them that the Zinara board had agreed to set off the $300 000 mortgage loan facility in the event that Chamisa-Masiyiwa accrued arrears and termination of her contract of employment, when, in fact, Mugabe knew fully well that the board had not authorised the setting off of Chamisa-Masiyiwa mortgage loan.
It is averred that on April 20, 2017, CBZ Bank approved a $300 000 mortgage loan facility in respect of Chamisa-Masiyiwa and released the mortgage loan on the strength of the false letters of undertaking and set-off authored and tendered to financial institution by Mugabe.
The State further alleges that Mugabe acted contrary or inconsistent with his duties as a public officer by authoring and tendering false letters of undertaking and set off a mortgage loan facility to CBZ without the approval of the Zinara board for the purpose of showing favour to Chamisa-Masiyiwa.
Machingura and Mercy Ndingadini appeared for the State.
The matter was heard by magistrate Lazini Ncube.