Former Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) chief executive Frank Chitukutuku will lose a total of six houses, a fleet of vehicles and several companies — including an insurance company — if the civil courts agree with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) that he and his wife probably acquired this large block of assets using proceeds of corruption.
The assets have been proven on “a balance of probabilities to be tainted and liable for forfeiture”, according to an NPA application filed at the High Court yesterday, seeking to recover the movable and immovable properties.
The test using balance of probabilities, the formula for civil cases, is less rigid than the “proof beyond reasonable doubt” used in criminal cases
Chitukutuku, his wife Nyasha, and a company called Hotspikes (Pvt) Ltd are listed as respondents in the civil forfeiture suit.
The prosecution is asking the court for an order to confiscate the identified properties owned by the Chitukutuku couple.
Chitukutuku is facing charges for criminal abuse of duty as a public officer, fraud, bribery and money laundering during his tenure at Zinara.
The movable properties, which the State seeks to confiscate include a Mazda T35 truck registration number ACN 2758, Mazda T35 (CAN 0695), Hino Dutro (ABI 2738), Toyota Land Cruiser (ADF 8240), Prado (ACP 9977), Nissan NP200 (ACN 0713), Range Rover (ACM 2555), Hino Ranger (ACU 6845), Land Rover Discovery (ADA 7621), five tractors, a 10-tonne UD truck and four water tanks.
Immovable properties listed for forfeiture include the couple’s Borrowdale estate measuring around an acre, Lot 3 Glen Lorne, Borrowdale, an upmarket Farm House, Farm Pride (Pvt) Ltd, Chisipite Road and Champions Insurance Company.
Another property targeted for civil forfeiture and indirectly owned by Chitukutuku is a company called Hotspikes Trading (Pvt) Ltd. It owns subdivision A of Sentosa of Mabelreign, Harare, measuring 9 536 square metres.
The company also owns another property known as Remainder of Lot 1 of Lot E of Colne Valley of Reitfontein measuring 4 552 square metres.
In his sworn statement, the acting national director of public prosecutions in the NPA, Mr Justine Uladi argues that there is a reasonable probability that Chitukutuku corruptly caused and generated flows of millions of dollars to favoured corporate entities for his personal gain and illicit enrichment.
“This in turn created a fertile ground for Chitukutuku to start money laundering through allegedly cleaning dirty money by acquiring assets and businesses,” argues Mr Uladi.
Even where Chitukutuku acquired property legitimately, this should be forfeited to help Zinara recover its losses, he said.
In his 39-page affidavit, Mr Uladi chronicles how Chitukutuku allegedly formed several criminal syndicates to defraud Zinara, on 29 occasions, of money running into millions of United State dollars.
One such company used is Notify Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd fronted by the late Nkululeko Sibanda that was heavily involved in some of the alleged underhand dealings in this regard and a principal beneficiary of criminal activities that prejudiced Zinara of more then US$3 million.
Givemore Kufa, a Zinara engineer, Thomas Mutizhe and Collen Moyo (the chief executive officer for Umguza Rural District Council) are part of the syndicate that allegedly defrauded Zinara after misrepresenting that rehabilitation work had been done on Ilitshe Road and construction of a bridge across the Umguza Rural District Council had been done by Notify Enterprises, resulting in Zinara making payment of US$3 199250.
Notify Enterprises allegedly created two fictitious road rehabilitation projects for a total cost of US$2 700 000 for purported rehabilitation of 31 kilometres of Ilitshe Road, a gravel road that links Umguza and Bubi Rural District Council in Matabeleland North Province.
The purported project included construction of a six-span bridge across Umguza River along the same road.
Chitukutuku allegedly targeted some executives in rural district councils, and Goromonzi was one of them, where he would create a tri-cycle relationship for the successful implementation of their hatched plan where Zinara, represented by him, was funding the purported projects.
Fremus Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd, at the centre of Supreme Court Judge Justice Bere’s suspension for alleged interference, was allegedly used to siphon more than US$20 million from Zinara.
The company is under the directorship of Freddy Chimbari and Musline Chimbari nee Bere.
The company was into buying and selling local and import products.
According to Mr Uladi, investigations carried out established that Fremus Enterprises was awarded a tender to carry out road rehabilitations in the Rural District Councils of Buhera, Gutu, Mhondoro Ngezi, Murehwa and Zaka during the period extending from 2010 to 2013.
It was established that Chimbari was allegedly Chitukutuku’s close ZAOGA church associate as they both attended ZAOGA Ruwa Church.
Mr Uladi says between 2010 and 2013, contrary to the statutory role of Zinara and the organisation’s standard procedure, and as an act of favouritism, Chitukutuku authorised and signed RTGS forms in favour of procedural direct payment of US$20 million to Fremus Enterprises for the road rehabilitation works it had carried out in the rural district councils.
He says in this case investigations by Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission revealed Zinara allegedly did not follow tender procedures in awarding the company tender for its projects in the mentioned areas.
“In this case, no such procedures were followed except the hand-picking of contractors, whereas money was paid in circumstances showing favour to those contractors, hence allegations of corruption and illicit enrichment against Chitukutuku, who was the chief executive officer for Zinara,” he said.