ZMDC boss in court

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Margaret Matibiri

Zimbabwe Mining Development Cooperation (ZMDC) boss has been hauled before the court on allegations of criminal abuse of office.

Acting Chief Operations Officer, Lawrence Gondo who is also a retired senior army officer allegedly wrote a letter of recommendation which would in turn cause the release of 59 tonnes of copper ore which were impounded by the police from illegal copper dealers, the court heard.

Gondo is alleged to have written the letter claiming that Kirsten Chirenje, Mtileni Piet and Famina Masaire who were accused persons were indeed registered copper dealers and they had legally acquired the mineral from ZMDC’s Mhangura Mine.

As a result of the letter he authored, the accused persons were acquitted by a Chivhu magistrate for the offence they were being charged for.

He appeared before Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa facing charges of criminal abuse of office and he was given free bail pending finalisation of the matter by the police.

The matter was remanded to January 15.

Allegations are that between October 29 and October 31 2018, Gondo wrote a letter where he allegedly misrepresented that Cute Suppliers Private Limited had been offered a three months trial mining contract at the ZMDC’s Mhangura Mines.

The court heard that the letter was intended to obstruct investigations in connection with 59 tonnes of copper ore impounded by the police at Featherstone in Chivhu.

In the letter, Gondo allegedly falsely inferred that Cute Suppliers had acquired the copper ore from Mhangura Mine when it did not originate from the said mine.

Through his act, it is alleged that Gondo showed favour to Mtileni Piet and Masaire who were being charged of failing to give a satisfactory account for possession of copper.

Resultantly, the accused persons were acquitted at the Chivhu magistrate’s court.

Meanwhile, Masaire appeared before the same Harare magistrate charged with violating the Copper Control Act and for defeating the course of justice.

Masaire was also remanded out of custody to January 15 on free bail.

It is the State’s case that Masaire connived with Element 22 employee Tarisai Bera and allegedly misrepresented to Inyati Old Mine Headlands that she is employed at Element 22 and bought 59 tonnes of Copper Ore.

When the copper was impounded, Masaire further misrepresented that she is employed at Element 22 and produced the company’s copper dealing Permit Number COP 2039.

On the second count, Masaire intending to defeat the ends of justice, allegedly misrepresented to the police and Chivhu magistrates courts that Element 22 were the owners of the 59 tonnes of the mineral   when it in fact belonged to  her and a South African registered company who both are unlicensed to deal in copper.

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