The trial of three senior officials at Tsholotsho Rural District Council implicated in a $37 000 motor vehicle purchase scam failed to take off on Tuesday because their lawyer was not available.
The trio’s lawyer, Sabelo Sibanda, sent a message to the State represented by Jerry Mutsindikwa that he would not be able to attend court after he had gone out of the country for an urgent family matter.
Mutsindikwa had to ask the court to postpone the matter to September 20 when Sibanda would be available.
The trio, Jericho Moyo, Martin Ndlovu and Sami Muleya, the RDC’s Campfire manager, finance officer and chief executive officer respectively, have not been formally charged with fraud and are now appearing before Bulawayo magistrate, Gideon Ruvetsa facing charges of criminal abuse of office.
Moyo, Ndlovu and Muleya had been appearing before Tsholotsho senior resident magistrate, Toindepi Zhou before the matter was transferred to the provincial court in Bulawayo, because of the value involved.
They are out of custody on $600 bail each.
Charges against them are that on January 19 last year, Moyo allegedly connived with Ndlovu, the RDC’s finance officer and Muleya, the chief executive officer to swindle the local authority of cash when they bought two Toyota Land Cruisers for Campfire projects.
They allegedly sourced the vehicles without following laid down council procedures and allegedly inflated purchase prices in the process.
The court heard they allegedly presented that the vehicles were valued at $26 000 and $30 000 respectively.
But investigations later revealed the vehicles were worth $8 000 and $11 000, respectively.
Through the alleged misrepresentation, the trio allegedly pocketed $37 000.
The matter only came to light during an audit, leading to Moyo’s arrest.
Moyo in turn implicated Ndlovu and Muleya.