Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
A JUNIOR police officer stationed at ZRP Ntabazinduna Training Depot’s finance department allegedly defrauded his employer of more than $200 000 in projects funds.
Fidelis Chivavava (28) of Pumula South yesterday appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Mr Tinashe Tashaya facing seven counts of fraud involving $206 048, 47.
The magistrate remanded him out of custody to February 28 on $200 bail.
He ordered Chivavava to report twice a week at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Commercial Crimes Division offices in Bulawayo and to reside at his given address until the matter is finalised.
The magistrate also ordered Chivavava, who is already on suspension, not to interfere with investigations as part of the bail conditions.
The court heard that between January 1 and December 31, 2015, Chivavava was the acting finance clerk at ZRP Ntabazinduna Depot and responsible for withdrawing, holding in trust the withdrawn funds, conducting payments for suppliers and reconciling the money.
During the period between September 21 and December 31, 2016, Chivavava allegedly connived with Shonhiwa Mushonga, one Oswald, Tafadzwa Sibanda, Kelvin Moyo and Sibonginkosi Dube and transferred $14 785 belonging to ZRP Ntabazinduna Training Depot’s Mess account into their individual accounts.
During the same year, the accused person stole $19 652 from his employer’s coffers and purportedly indicated in the financial books that he paid $2 700 to Oscaria Bakery, $10 052.02 to Fortwell Wholesalers, $800 to Moyo and $5 102 to Dube. He converted the money to his personal use and in the process prejudiced ZRP of $19 652.02.
He later on double paid one Mrs E Mpofu $2 218 for goods received using the same invoice and prejudiced his employer of $1 109.
Between 18 and 19 January this year an internal audit was carried out at ZRP Ntabazinduna Training Depot and it was discovered that a total of $206 048,47 was missing.
When Chivavava was engaged over the issued he failed to account for the money. A report was made to police at Mbembesi on February 10 leading to his arrest.
The State had opposed bail through Mr Taurai Hondoyemoto, arguing that Chivavava was likely to abscond due to the gravity of the offence.
He also argued that there was no guarantee that if given bail, the accused would not interfere with ongoing investigations.
However, the magistrate ruled that the State failed to give compelling reasons warranting denial of bail.
“The reasons for opposing bail, which were proffered by the State, are not satisfactory.
“There is no way that accused would interfere with investigations since he is on suspension and in any case you don’t arrest a person before conducting investigations.
“The investigating officer is just speculating and I do not understand the State’s fears that accused would abscond, particularly taking into account that he turned himself in to the police when he heard that they were looking for him,” said Mr Tashaya.