Wadyajena off the hook

Justice Mayor Wadyajena at the Harare Magistrate's Court

HARARE regional magistrate Taurai Manuwere has ruled that Gokwe Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena (Zanu PF) has no case to answer in a matter he was accused of money-laundering and fraud charges involving US$5,8 million.

Manuwere said the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) failed to prove how Wadyajena performed the illegal transactions from countries such as the United States (US), Holland and Mauritius.

The regional magistrate then removed Wadyajena from remand saying Zacc had no case, adding that they arrested the legislator to investigate him.

Wadyajena was represented by Oliver Marwa and was being charged together with his firm  Mayor Logistics, Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) bosses Pius Manamike, Maxmore Njanji, Chiedza Danha, as well as Moncrois PowerPoint Company.

They were all removed from remand.

“The factors the court found in this application is the extent of delay, the reason for delay, the seriousness of the charge, the prejudice of the State, and the adverse interest of the public. This is a clear case and the refusal of remand should be granted, the accused persons have been on remand for more than six months,” Manuwere said, adding that the State had asked for a month from August last year to complete their investigations, but had failed.

Manuwere said the accused could not be kept in remand as it was unknown when the State would conclude its extra-territorial investigations.

“This means the State cannot proceed with the matter in this jurisdiction if they failed to get assistance from their extra-territorial investigations and the application is hereby granted,” he ruled.

Allegations were that sometime in 2019, Wadyajena defrauded Cottco of US$5,8 million through fictitious purchases of goods purportedly for use by Cottco.

In pursuance to the plan, he allegedly opened a shelf company, Pierpont Moncroix, on January 28, 2019 with registration number 898/2019 in which Danha and Euphrasia Mupedzisi were directors.

On March 14, 2019, Cottco raised an internal requisition stores voucher number 264583 for the supply of 3 200 000 by 92-inch special high carbon bale ties to cater for the 2019 ginning season.

The requisition was allegedly signed by Manamike and Njanji on the same date.

A comparative schedule of suppliers for the supply of the bale ties was raised by Molai where four companies, among them Brown Engineering Group (Pvt) Ltd, which is based in Harare, submitted its quotation valued at US$2 005 416,17 dated January 21, 2019.

Hebei Hanwu Cotton Machinery Co Ltd, based in China, quoted the same supplies at US$1 439 984 on January 22, 2019, while the Burmetal Turkey quotation dated March 7, 2019 was valued at US$1 307 881,77 and the Pierpont Moncroix Mauritius quotation dated April 7, 2019 was valued at US$2 649 289,97.

They were accused of embezzling funds meant for acquiring bale cables and using the proceeds to buy trucks, among other goods. Wadyajena had his haulage trucks seized by the State following the alleged exposé.

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