BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
A 30-YEAR-OLD Harare woman appeared in court yesterday charged with swindling the Defence ministry out of $2 700 546 after she allegedly misrepresented that she bought 79 air tickets for members of the army.
The suspect, Moreen Tatenda Nago, who is director of Cheryl Ethan Travel Services was remanded to October 1 after being granted $30 000 bail by magistrate Trynos Utawashe.
She was ordered to report twice a week, surrender her passport to the clerk of court, not to interfere with witnesses and stay at her given address.
Allegations are that on January 16, 2016, Nago and her accomplice Shepherd Chiriga, who is also out on bail, registered their company Cheryl Ethan Travel Services. On March 7, 2017, they allegedly opened a company bank account with FBC Bank.
It is alleged on November 16, 2016, Denson Muvandi and his wife Rachel Derby Muvandi also registered their company Right Turn Travel Services and opened a company bank account with FBC Bank, Harare on April 17, 2019.
At the beginning of July 2019, Nago in connivance with Chiriga and Muvandi, who is allegedly on the run, misrepresented to the Defence ministry that Cheryl Ethan Travel Services had purchased air tickets for 79 Zimbabwe army officers who wanted to travel outside the country.
The State alleges that on July 15, 2019, the trio presented an invoice of $2 700 546 to the Defence ministry purporting that Cheryl Ethan Travel Services had facilitated the trip.
It is alleged that Muvandi, who was the ministry’s finance director, recommended and authorised the transfer of $2 700 546 on July 16 from the ministry’s account to Cheryl Ethan Travel services FBC Bank account.
Between July 16 and 25 last year, the money was transferred from Cheryl Ethan Travel Services to Right Turn Travel Services and subsequently to different individual and company bank accounts.
Investigations carried out by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission revealed that the companies did not render any services to the Defence ministry.
Instead, they swindled government of $2 700 546 and nothing was recovered.
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