ZIMBABWE National Road Administration (Zinara) finance director Simon Taranhike has claimed that the allegations that he criminally abused his office were a result of power struggles at the parastatal.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Taranhike made the claims during commencement of his trial before Harare magistrate Hosea Mujaya yesterday.
According to the State, Taranhike allegedly pressured Zinara’s transport clerk Dennis Jakachira to release 1 800 litres of petrol coupons to a local journalist without following proper procedure.
But the Zinara boss said the allegations were false and well-orchestrated by detractors who are desperate to get rid of him. He further said the power struggles emanated from the jostling for the chief executive officer’s post which was temporarily occupied by Mathlene Mujokoro.
“The power struggle brewed animosity and hatred between me and Mujokoro to an extent that she will seize any opportunity presenting itself to ensure that she ends my career at Zinara. That was the order of the day and the animosity emanated from a report I wrote to Zinara’s board chair which resulted in the arrest of 24 employees who were fingered in vehicle licencing fee leakages,” Taranhike said.
“This did not go down well with the people who were benefiting from such corrupt activities, hence concerted efforts were made to oust me from Zinara systems for good as I had become a thorn in the flesh for those who wanted to execute their shady deals,” he said.
On the issuance of fuel to a local scribe, Taranhike said his department is not responsible for initiating and authorising the issuance of fuel and to single him out as an accused person is a clear indication of the political dynamics at Zinara.
The State led by Netsai Mushayabasa led evidence from its witness Frank Hwenhira, who is the Zinara legal officer who also confirmed Taranhike’s testimony, saying there was bad blood between Mujokoro and Taranhike.
“I know about the bad blood between Mujokoro and Taranhike. I know this because it was an open secret. It was very topical at Zinara,” Hwenhira told the court.
Hwenhira said the issuance of fuel to journalists was common at the parastatal for the coverage of events which might be out of town.
Mujaya postponed the matter to today for continuation of trial.