Court dismisses Air Zimbabwe bosses’ discharge bid

HARARE regional magistrate Fadzai Mtombeni yesterday dismissed former Air Zimbabwe bosses Peter Chikumba and Grace Pfumbidzayi’s application for discharge after the State wound up its case and noted that the two had a case to answer.

BY PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI

AirZim former chief executive officer Chikumba (59) and company secretary Grace Pfumbidzayi (49) are facing charges of criminal abuse of duty and contravening procurement regulations and have been undergoing trial on allegations of swindling the airline of ₧5 175 593 and $502 748 in an alleged insurance scam.

In her ruling, Mtombeni noted that although Chikumba totally denied involvement in the scam while Pfumbidzayi argued that she acted in the best interests of the airline at a time of crisis, evidence adduced through the State witness was credible as it proved essential elements of the offence.

Defence lawyers Advocate Webster Chinamhora and Admire Rubaya had filed an application for discharge on behalf of their clients, arguing that the prosecution failed to prove its case and that there was no need for them to be put to their defence.

Chikumba and Pfumbidzayi are facing charges of criminal abuse of duty as public officers defined in Section 174 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, or alternatively contravening Section 30 of the Procurement Act Chapter 22:14 as read with Section (5)(4)(A)(2) of the Procurement Regulations (Statutory Instrument 171 of 2002).

Allegations levelled against them are that on March 18 2009, Chikumba and Pfumbidzayi connived to unilaterally terminate the services of Marsh Insurance Brokers and appointed Navistar Insurance Brokers without going to tender in contravention of the Procurement Act and neither did they notify other companies in the same business.

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