Zvikomborero Parafini, Court Reporter
Former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation chief executive Patrick Mavhura and his alleged accomplice former head finance, administration and human resources, Benania Shumba who were remanded in custody on Saturday were in court yesterday where they filed their bail application.
The duo is accused of conniving in defrauding the national broadcaster of over US$250 000.
Prosecuting, George Manokore opposed bail by calling the evidence of the Investigating Officer John Mvundura who told the presiding magistrate provincial magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro that Mavhura is being investigated in 18 more cases of fraud.
He also told the court that Mavhura is influential and the witnesses expected to testify in court were his subordinates and he has the means to influence their evidence in his favour.
“More cases have been reported against Mavhura, about 18 cases which involve large sums of money, the other involves 180 000 Euros the other US$18 000 and if released on bail, he may flee the jurisdiction of this court.
“There is overwhelming evidence against the two, even though Mavhura was entitled to a mortgage from ZBC, he was supposed to approach the board with the money they had made in revenue not to fraudulently use the parastatal’s funds to buy a house,” said Mvundura.
The duo’s lawyer argued that there was no evidence put to the court proving that they had pending cases, and were suitable candidates for bail as they are of fixed aboard.
The matter will be back in court today for bail ruling.
It is the State’s case that acting ZBC CEO Wisdom Hombarume asked acting chief finance officer Maxwell Judah to give him a report on the state of the broadcaster’s finances.
Hombarume allegedly discovered that Mavhura and Shumba had siphoned money paid by Totalmedia and Adrenalin advertising agencies.
On December 12 last year, the duo signed two separate contracts with Totalmedia, who made an advance payment of US$100 000.
It was agreed that ZBC would in turn supply value-added advertising airtime amounting to US$149 500 to Totalmedia.
On January 19 this year, Shumba allegedly wrote to Totalmedia asking the agency to deposit the funds into a Mugiya and Macharaga Law Chambers Ecobank trust account instead of a ZBC account.
The cash was later withdrawn and used to purchase Mavhura’s residential stand at number 98 William Pollet Road, Philadelphia, Borrowdale in Harare.
Another charge is that on February 1, Shumba and Mavhura signed a similar contract with Adrenalin, who made an advance payment of US$100 000.
On the same day, it is alleged, Shumba again originated a letter directing the firm to deposit the cash into the lawyer’s trust account from where it was again withdrawn.