Zimstat director general suspended
Nqobile Tshili, [email protected]
ZIMBABWE National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) Director General Mr Taguma Mahonde who is in remand prison on fraud and corruption allegations has been suspended from duty.
The agency has since appointed Director Production Statistics Mrs Matiwonesa Phiri as the acting Director General.
Mr Mahonde appeared in court last week and was denied bail for defrauding the statistics agency.
In a statement on Sunday, the Zimstat board chairman Dr Naomi Wekwete said Mr Mahonde was suspended on Friday pending trial.
“The Zimstat Board would like to inform stakeholders of the suspension of Mr Taguma Mahonde from the position of Director-General at Zimstat with effect from 29 September 2023.
In the interim, the Board has appointed Mrs Matiwonesa Phiri, Director Production Statistics, as the Acting Director-General pending finalisation of criminal proceedings initiated against Mr Mahonde in the Magistrate court,” said Dr Wekwete.
It is the State’s case that on June 24, 2019 Mahonde entered into a contract of employment with Zimstat for the position of director-general.
The contract included among other things, an educational allowance for himself and his children.
The court heard that on September 3, 2021 the Board of Directors held a meeting where the accused was in attendance and among the issues discussed a review of the educational allowance for the Director General.
It was resolved that the education allowance for the Director General be reviewed upwards to US$800 per child per term for a maximum of three children, thus translating to US$2 400.
It is alleged that on 3 September 2021, Mahonde claimed US$2 400 for school fees.
On the same day, Zimstat, acting upon the misrepresentation effected a payment voucher of $206 532 being school fees equivalent US$2 400 converted at the interbank rate of $6 05510 per US$1 paid into the bank account of Mahonde.
On January 24, 2022, Mahonde generated a memo in which he misrepresented that the school fees for his three children was US$2 400 and on 25 January 2022, Zimstat made eight payments to the tune $270 775,00 being school fees equivalent to US$2 400 for term 1 at interbank rate.
On May 22, 2022, Mahonde generated a memo in which he misrepresented that the school fees for his children was US$2 400.
On September 6, 2022 he generated another memo in which he further misrepresented that the school fees for his children was US$2 400.
Zimstat made a payment voucher to the tune $1 392 448.00 being school fees equivalent to US$2 400 for Term 3.
On January 23, this year, Mahonde generated another memo in which he misrepresented that the school fees for his children was US$2 400 and on January 24, Zimstat made a payment voucher to the tune $1 756 808 being school fees equivalent to US$2 400 for Term 1.
Investigations established that from September 2021 to January 2023, Mahonde had two school going children attending Kirkman Primary School and Livingstone Learning Centre and Nursery School.
Investigations established that all the payments that were done by Zimstat towards Mahonde’s education allowances were done into his personal account 9140005140306 using his vendor number E101467.
The claims were not supported with school invoices.
The case was unearthed during an internal audit conducted by Claudius Matiza in his capacity as the head of internal audit and on 20 April 2023.
In a bid to obstruct the investigations, Mahonde allegedly hatched a plan to suspend Matiza from Zimstat.
It is alleged that in a bid to further frustrate the completion of the case being investigated by ZACC, Mahonde tabled a proposal to the Zimstat board for a review of his educational allowances.
Investigations established that there was also an attempt to backdate the educational allowances in order to sanitise the offence.
Investigations further established that after investigations had already started on the 6th of March 2023, Mahonde, in a bid to cover up for the offence, paid a total of $756 047.33 on 21 and 22 March 2023 as refund for claiming US$4 000 for a non-existent child.
As a result of the misrepresentation by Mahonde, Zimstat suffered an actual prejudice of US$4 000 and US$826 was recovered.