Govt laboratory bosses arrested for criminal abuse of office

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BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

National Microbiology Reference Laboratory co-ordinator Sekesai Zinyowera and her administration officer Crossman Mayavo have been arrested on four fraud cases involving over US$61 000.

Zinyowera (51) and Mayavo (44), who were arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, yesterday appeared before Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya who remanded them to March 23 on $2 000 and $1 000 bail, respectively.

The pair was asked to surrender their passports and to report every Friday at Dzivarasekwa Police Station as part of their bail conditions.

It is the State’s case that in September 2014, the pair hatched a plan to siphon government funds from the National Laboratory and on July 14, 2014 a management meeting was convened and Zinyowera chaired that meeting while Mayavo was taking down minutes.

During the meeting, the State alleges Zinyowera suggested that 60% of all received user fees was to be apportioned to National Microbiology Reference Laboratory while 40% was to be shared among the staff.

The State alleges the accused persons did this knowing that there was no government policy that supports such apportionment of government funds without approval from the Finance ministry and the minutes were never availed to the ministry’s permanent secretary who is the accounting officer.

The two opened an FCA account with CBZ Southerton branch and the account was an extension of a Zimdollar account held with the same bank.

It is the State’s case that the two then siphoned US$61 143 from the FCA account and $638 from the Zimdollar account. The money was allegedly withdrawn by the two accused persons who were the sole signatories of the accounts.

The State alleges that the National Microbiology Reference Laboratory was prejudiced of $7 638 and US$61 143 and nothing was recovered.

The State further alleges that the two accused persons connived and showed favour to Tanaka Sakubani, a chief medical laboratory scientist by allocating him 40 litres of fuel for his personal vehicle every week. It is alleged Mayavo issued a total of 380 litres to Sakubani.

It is further alleged that Zinyowera and Mayavo approved and paid $950 Midlands State University fees for Collins Moyo with the National Laboratory funds without following due process.

The pair is also accused of allocating 1 760 litres of petrol and 2 440 litres of diesel to junior officers one E Mazarura and A Mutambara despite the ministry’s policy of allocating fuel to directors only.