The High Court has acquitted five Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) executives who had been accused of fraudulently transferring more than $2 million into bogus companies’ accounts in a suspected shady loan deal.
High Court judge Emy Tsanga yesterday ruled that the five, Simon Mudzingwa Taranhike, Shadreck Matengabadza, Stephen Matute, Givemore Tendai Kufa and Precious Murove, had not committed any offence.
When the trial kicked off, the five had denied the allegations, claiming they were being persecuted for supporting President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Allegations against the five arose in 2011, when Zinara was advanced a 10-year loan facility of $206 million by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) for the construction and rehabilitation of the 823km-long Plumtree-Mutare Highway.
NMB Bank was to facilitate the loan repayment.
The State had alleged that due to foreign currency challenges, remittances to NMB Bank were being made in bond notes, leaving the bank with the task of sourcing hard currency on behalf of DBSA.
It had been further alleged that from May 3 to 23, 2017, the five men, acting in connivance and without authority from Zinara, allegedly sourced foreign currency from the parallel market through directors from two other companies, after paying them a total of $2,94 million on the pretext that the payment was a reimbursement to DBSA on behalf of Zinara’s loan obligation.
However, the court ruled that the evidence provided was not sufficient enough to secure a conviction.