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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

New twist to PSMAS saga

Story by Peter Chivhima

THE PSMAS fraud case continued at the courts this Tuesday, with a key witness revealing that more than US$1million could have been stolen from the entity.

The accused persons include Farai Muchena the Chief Executive Officer, Victor Chaipa the Group Strategy and Performance Executive, Cosmas Mukwesha the Group Secretary, Polite Mugwagwa, Alexander Cecilia the PSMAS Board Chairperson and his vice Wellington Tutisa.

The court called an investigating officer from Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, Mr Eric Chacha to the witness stand who revealed that the money siphoned from PSMAS could be more than US$1million.

However, the accused persons tried to exonerate themselves claiming that their hands are clean.

It is the state’s case that sometime in 2020, the PSMAS Board, with the objective of generating the much-needed foreign currency for the procurement of pharmaceutical drugs and other related medical equipment, passed a resolution to the effect that its management ventures into buying and selling of gold.

It was further resolved that staff members from its procurement department were to act as buyers and agents for buying the gold on behalf of the society, before the quartet of Muchena, Chaipa, Mukwesha and Mugwagwa allegedly diverted the money for their personal use.

Wellington Tutisa and Cecelia Alexander are facing three counts of theft and contravening the Public Finance Act.

It is the state’s case that Tutisa and Alexander were appointed to the board of PSMI as board chairperson and vice board chairperson, for the period covering 2019 to July 2022, before they awarded each board member hefty yearly holiday allowances well-knowing that the board members were not entitled to the benefit.

Meanwhile, the duo of industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe Edward Tome and Dereck Sibanda were freed on ZWL200 000 bail in a case where they are accused of criminal abuse of office involving procurement of vehicles.

Allegations are that in December 2021, Sibanda, through an IDCZ internal requisition, instructed one Vimbiso Chikwereti, the procurement manager, to buy a 4X4 SUV motor vehicle for Tome.

Tome and Sibanda are also accused of allegedly handpicking Faramatsi Motors and instructing Chemplex Corporation Chief Executive James Chigwende to process payment of more than ZWL9 million for a Toyota Prado SUV for the acting general manager.

The two also stand accused of allegedly handpicking Croco Motors to supply a 4X4 pick-up truck for more than 21 million Zimbabwe dollars.

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