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Warrant of arrest for accomplice in Mbudzi interchange corruption case

AN accomplice in the alleged corruption over compensation for bought-out properties around the Mbudzi interchange in southern Harare, Levy Idana, who has gone missing, was yesterday the subject of a warrant of arrest on fraud charges issued by Harare magistrate Mr Dennis Mangosi.

Idana is accused of being the front man in the fraudulent scheme by Deputy director of Roads Services in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Ernest Shenje, to divert US$200 000 in initial payments in compensation for one of the properties that had to be bought out to give enough room for the new interchange now under construction. 

Once all payments were made, there would have been more than US$1 million paid out, but the scheme was rumbled before all payments were made.

Idana now needs to answer his charges before the court.

He allegedly forged an Agreement of Sale using an old title deed with the name of John Maloney, the previous owner before Geoffrey Bannister, who was entitled to the compensation, purporting that Idana had purchased the property and was now the one due to be compensated.

Meanwhile, Harare regional magistrate Mr Donald Ndirowei has granted US$500 bail to Shenje who is considered to be the mastermind, with Idana earning a cut of the US$200 000 for his part.

In his ruling, Mr Ndirowei said the State had no compelling reasons to deny Shenje bail, but he has to stay at his house, report twice a week to the police and hand in his passport to the clerk of court.

Shenje was remanded to March 6.

The State alleged that in 2021, the Government through the Ministry decided to construct a multi-level interchange to replace the Mbudzi roundabout which is at the intersection of Simon Mazorodze, Chitungwiza and High Glen Roads.

The project affected 135 residential, industrial and commercial properties around the Mbudzi roundabout that had to be bought out. There is a standard procedure when property owners have to be bought out. 

They cannot refuse to go, but there is a valuation process that ensures they are properly compensated for the actual value of the property. So the Government set up a fund to compensate the affected property owners.

The court heard that in 2022, the Ministry decided to value the properties. Subdivision A of Subdivision B of Delft of Hopley held under a title deed of Geoffrey Bannister was one of the properties that was affected.

When compensation was due to be given, Shenje allegedly connived with Idana, who is still at large and other individuals, yet to be accounted for, to forge an agreement of sale in order to be compensated.

Idana went on to submit the fraudulent agreement of sale and the old title deed to Shenje who in turn proceeded to fast-track the paperwork for payment of the compensation.

On December 8 and 28, 2022, Idana received US$100 000 on each day from Treasury under the instruction of the Ministry of Transport to make a total of US$200 000.

Due to this misrepresentation by Shenje, the Ministry suffered an actual prejudice of US$200 000 and a potential prejudice of US$803 417 if the remaining tranches of the purchase price had been handed over.

Shenje was arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.

Herald

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