THE Deputy Director Roads Division in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Enerst Shenje, who has been accused of claiming fake compensation for property owners affected by the Mbudzi interchange project, is due back in court today.
The State has accused Shenje of being given a share of a US$200 000 fraudulent compensation payment, allegedly paid to Levy Idana, with who Shenje is said to have conspired.
His lawyer Admire Rubaya argued that there is nothing linking Shenje to the offence.
He denied the allegations arguing that he had no power to recommend or approve any payment for compensation as he is a junior officer in a chain of superior officers, including the director, chief director and permanent secretary.
He stated that he is being “victimised”.
This came after the investigating officer Elisha Chimusoro claimed that Shenje has a “tendency” of bypassing his superiors and going straight to the Minister.
The brief allegations are that sometime in 2021, the Government embarked on the project to construct a multi-level interchange at Mbudzi roundabout and the project affected 135 residential, industrial and commercial properties around the area.
Government set a fund to compensate affected property owners after a valuation process, and in 2022 the Ministry set out to value the affected properties.
It is said a property, subdivision A of Subdivision B of Delft of Hopely held under Title Deed of one Geoffrey Bannister was one of the properties affected.
When compensation was due, the State claimed that Shenje in connivance with Idana forged an agreement of sale using an old title deed in the name of John Maloney, predecessor in title to Bannister purporting that Idana had purchased the property and is the one due to be compensated.
It was further alleged that Idana went on to submit the fraudulent agreement of sale and the old title deed to Shenje who in turn fast-tracked the paperwork for payment.
Claims are that on December 8 and December 28, Idana received US$100 000 respectively from Treasury under the instruction of the Ministry, making a total of US$200 000.
The State called the investigating officer Chimusoro to the witness stand to support its application to place Shenje on remand saying they have evidence that he benefitted from the alleged fraud as he was given a share of the money.
“He was given his share by Idana and we have evidence in the form of bank statements,” said Chimusoro.
However, during cross examination, Chimusoro conceded that he had not written the claim in his papers before court, but would include it in papers for trial.
Chimusoro also said Shenje did not do due diligence by not visiting the deeds office for verification of the deed submitted by Idana.
He also conceded that all Shenje’s superiors who had powers to recommend and approve payment had not done due diligence and that investigations are still underway to get to the bottom of the matter.
Regional magistrate Donald Ndirowei presided over the matter.