HomeLocalCops investigate NRZ 10 million-pound fraud

Cops investigate NRZ 10 million-pound fraud

Bulawayo police are investigating a £10 million fraud case at the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) involving some of the rail firm’s senior executives in what could showcase the free-for-all situation at parastatals.

Gibson Boston Siziba, a senior auditor with the NRZ yesterday filed a police report implicating the state-owned rail firm’s finance director Patrick Bondayi and former police commander Frank Msutu, who is NRZ senior manager for security operations.

According to the police report (IR 4737/10), Bondayi allegedly worked in cahoots with other yet to be named officials in the finance department to misappropriate funds through over-invoicing of spare parts. Bondayi was suspended three months ago to facilitate investigations when details of the alleged heist surfaced.

Police and NRZ auditors are now keen to trace the whereabouts of the money, with indications that the funds could be held in offshore accounts. Police also believe the £10 million could just be the tip of the iceberg, and are launching a wider investigation.

Police spokesperson, Inspector Mandla Moyo, confirmed that officers at Bulawayo Central Police Station were handling the case.

“I can confirm that a report was made to the Bulawayo Central Police station where an official at the NRZ allegedly misappropriated funds amounting to over £10 million. Already, investigations are underway. That is all I can say at the moment,” Moyo said.

A separate case was reported on Msutu’s alleged failure to act on cases of fraud reported to him. According to initial report 4738/10, Msutu was alerted of the fraudulent activities involving senior managers at the parastatal but he allegedly sat on the cases.

“Sometime in April 2010, the now accused was handed over a case of serious fraud by the audit department of the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) to investigate and bring to book the accused (Bondayi),” reads the police record.

“The accused failed dismally to do anything in his capacity as security officer, even bringing the matter to the police for further investigations. (As a result of his actions) The accused defeated the
course of justice. The accused had no right to defeat the course of justice or protect the accused for fraud involving 10 million pounds.”

NRZ sources said the audit team descended on the parastatal three weeks ago and has been combing the company’s books following reports of massive plunder.

A number of senior managers could soon be arrested as police act on the results of the audit report, NRZ sources said.

Efforts to get a comment from the NRZ general manager, Mike Karakadzai proved fruitless yesterday.
NRZ, once a carrier of choice for low-budget travellers, is facing collapse because of alleged mismanagement and poor revenue generation.

 

Nkululeko Sibanda

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