Anti-graft commission clears businessman

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The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has cleared a Harare businessman, Engineer Tapiwa Beloved Parehwa, of being linked to a syndicate which allegedly swindled the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) Online facility of $30 609, leading to the collapse of its e-learning scheme.

An impeccable source from the ACC who declined to be identified told NewsDay yesterday that Parehwa was no longer being questioned over the alleged fraud after he presented himself to the ACC offices where he was interviewed.

This was after Parehwa was reported to be on the run following the arrest of ZOU Online chief executive officer William Gonyora last month. In his affidavit dated February 18, 2012, a copy of which was seen by NewsDay, Parehwa told ACC he contributed the bulk of the money and assets into the ZOU Online project and would not steal his own investment.

“I advanced loans, computers and other assets to ZOU Online to the total recorded amount of over $112 000, plus $68 000 worth of assets. Only $61 715 has been paid back to me despite advancing the loans from 2009 to February 2010,” he said.

Parehwa also said ZOU Online was conceived in 2008, well before he was invited to participate when an agreement between ZOU and a company called IBI Africa was entered for the provision of e-learning platform.

“I was personally invited to fund the project as Gonyora lamented lack of funding to kick-start the project,” he said.

“I agreed to fund the project provided I became a shareholder and director in both ZOU Online and IBI Africa Corporation and a signatory to ZOU Online.”

Parehwa confirmed he signed and authorised withdrawals requested by Gonyora, as the ZOU Online CEO.

“Gonyora was part and parcel of the team involved in preparations of the cashbook and the asset register as well as the audited financial statements that he signed to signify knowledge, acceptance, endorsement and approval,” said Parehwa. The businessman told the ACC he was also a victim of Gonyora’s alleged fraudulent actions and maladministration.

The State alleges Gonyora never used the money to benefit and advance the interests of the online students, but instead used the funds for personal use.

Gonyora is out on $500 bail.