A DEFENCE ministry accountant who allegedly stole US$20 million from his employer and went on a spending spree, buying four houses in Harare and 25 taxis as well as posh vehicles, was yesterday denied bail and remanded to February 11.

Simbarashe Zvineyi (36) appeared before magistrate Francis Mapfumo who remanded him in custody pending finalisation of investigations.

Zvineyi, who is also alleged to have channelled part of the money to the foreign currency parallel market, was advised to approach the High Court for bail.

Allegations against Zvineyi are that between January 2010 and December 31, 2019, he and Danison Muvandi who was a chief accounting officer in the same ministry, hatched a plan to defraud the government.

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In pursuit of their plan on several occasions Muvandi, who is still at large, using his position and influence, allegedly misrepresented that there were classified operations to be carried out.

He allegedly instructed the chief accountant, Lameck Jackson, to deposit money into Zvineyi’s accounts at NMB Bank, CBZ, CABS and Steward Bank, using Zvineyi’s vendor number.

It is alleged, acting on the misrepresentation Jackson, transferred into Zvineyi’s bank accounts amounts ranging from US$40 000 to US$66 000 during the decade. The two would then allegedly share the money.

The State alleges that from investigations carried out so far, the Defence ministry has suffered prejudice of US$20 million and only four vehicles have been recovered.

On his second count Zvineyi, during the same period and acting in connivance with Muvandi and after they allegedly defrauded the Ministry of Defence, reportedly laundered the proceeds of the offence by acquiring various properties, which include more than 25 taxis, a Jeep Wrangler, a Isuzu KB300, a Honda Fit and a Toyota Vitz.

He also bought houses in Tynwald, Aspindale, Avonlea and Borrowdale.

Muvandi also allegedly acquired various properties some of which have been recovered.

George Manokore appeared for the State.