FORMER Zinara boss, Frank Chitukutuku has appeared in court facing six charges of criminal abuse of office after allegedly awarding road rehabilitation contracts worth US$20 million to a ‘colleague’ without following legal processes.
Chitukutuku appeared before Harare magistrate Mr Francis Mapfumo yesterday following his arrest in Harare on Friday.
The accused was remanded in custody to Tuesday, for bail hearing, after the prosecution raised an objection that Chitukutuku had changed his name.
Prosecutor Mr Clemence Chimbare told the court that the State wanted to verify information that Chitukutuku and his family had changed their name to Mandlamakhulu.
Allegations against the former Zinara boss are that between January 2009 and May 31 2016, he influenced awarding of contracts worth US$20 million for rehabilitation of roads in Zaka, Buhera, Mhondoro-Ngezi, Murewa and Goromonzi.
The contracts were awarded to Fremus Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd without following procurement procedures. According to the case outline, Chitukutuku had the power over disbursement of road rehabilitation funds.
“The accused, in connivance with former Zinara technical director Moses Julius Juma, corruptly imposed the awarding of contracts for rehabilitation of road works for Rural Districts Councils without following procurement procedures,” read the court papers in part.
“The accused acted contrary to his duties as a public officer for the purpose of showing favour to Fremus Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd, a company owned by his ZAOGA church associate, Freddy Chimbari.”
It is further alleged that Chitukutuku and Juma would threaten to withdraw road rehabilitation funds to Rural District Councils that sought to award road contracts to other contractors ahead of Fremus Enterprises.
According to the charge sheet, Chimbari purchased a US$30 000 residential stand in Glen Lorne for Chitukutuku as a ‘kick back’ for the alleged corrupt awarding of contracts.
Chimbari is also said to have, on different dates, deposited a total US$114 000 in Chitukutuku’s CBZ account, as a return of favour for the contracts.