BY CHARLES LAITON
Former Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) acting chief executive Moses Julius Juma, who was last October slapped with a two-year jail term for criminal abuse of office, breathed a sigh of relief on Monday after being temporarily released on ZWR$5 000 bail pending appeal.=
Juma was convicted of handpicking, without going to tender back in 2014, a tax consultancy company for a contract worth over US$500 000.
“Whereupon after reading documents filed of record and hearing counsel it is ordered that: – the applicant (Juma) is admitted to bail pending appeal in the sum of ZWR$5 000. He shall reside at 48 Dover Road, Chisipite, Harare until the finalisation of appeal in CA127/19,” High Court judge Justice Moses Foroma said.
“The applicant shall surrender his passport, shall report once every month at Highlands Police Station on the first Friday of each month and surrender deed of transfer No. 1534/2003 in respect of stand 1077 Mahatshula Township in Bulawayo.”
Juma’s co-accused, former board member Davison Norupiri, who was Zinara’s finance committee chairperson, escaped a jail term after he turned into a State witness.
Juma and Norupiri once made headlines back in 2016 after former Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko ordered their release from police custody.
It was the State case that sometime in 2014, Zinara had a tax obligation with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority amounting to $15 418 133. Zimra later garnished $5 714 587 from Zinara’s account, leaving a balance of $9 703 546.
The court heard that a report was made to the Zinara board by the management for guidance to reduce tax obligations and the parastatal tasked the finance committee chaired by Norupiri to engage a tax consultancy firm.
The State said three tax consultancy firms namely Misfort Tax Consultancy, Excel Tax Consultancy and Central Source Management Consultancy trading as Tax Management Services were chosen to make presentations for tax health check services.
However, on September 23 the same year, the three made presentations and the finance committee recommended Tax Management Services to the procurement committee.
However, without board approval, Juma went on to engage Tax Management Services for other tax advisory services without following proper tender procedures, resulting in Zinara making payment of $577 250 to the company.