Witness vanishes in $500k fraud case


An auditor who allegedly unearthed misuse of over $500 000 by Roman Catholic employees who are in charge of donor funds is frustrating the State as he cannot be located to testify during trial.

Cornelius Hamadziripi, 49, Dadirayi Nyamasuka, 34, and Wonder Mufunda, 40, were subsequently removed from remand before prosecutor Norman Tsarwe was advised to proceed with the trial through summons.

The three are being charged with fraud, forgery and theft of trust property and the complainant is Zimbabwe Council of Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC) represented by Fradreck Chiromba.

Hamadziripi is the national director of Caritas Zimbabwe while Nyamashuka and Mufunda are the finance administrator and programmes coordinator, respectively.

ZCBC is the administrator of all Catholic departments including Caritas whose mandate is providing humanitarian aid to vulnerable and needy communities, emergency responses and relief work in Zimbabwe.

Sometime in 2013, Caritas presented a project proposal to the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (Cafod) seeking funds to assist victims of political violence during 2013 harmonised elections.

They received $30 400 which was to be released on approval by an emergency response committee chaired by David Lukio.

However, events during the elections did not warrant release of funds and the whole amount was supposed to be sent back to Cafod but the accused persons only remitted $4 999, 20.

A forensic audit investigation established that $25 400 was converted by Hamadziripi and accomplices to their own use.



In a bid to cover the offence, the accused persons misrepresented that $12 800 was distributed to eight diocesans and presented fictitious disbursement sheets purporting that the money had been signed for.

When the diocesans were interviewed they denied receiving the alleged amounts of money.

It was further alleged that in 2009, the accused persons would award themselves advance salaries which would not be paid back but written off at the end of each financial year.

As a result, they withdrew $174 004,63 in advance salaries.

The court heard that between January 4, 2012 and January 2014 and on 60 different occasions the accused persons withdrew $208 586 purported to fund the petty cash account.

However, the funds were never recorded in the petty cash account.

The court heard that in 2009 United Nations office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs granted Caritas Zimbabwe $30 266 for cholera prevention and treatment.

The trio received another grant of $19 836,98 by the Refugee Action and $19 777,63 was never accounted for.

The trio allegedly swindled $67 776,24 meant for different humanitarian aid.

A total of $525 410,05 was lost and nothing was recovered. Daily News


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