EX-ZIMBABWE National Road Administration (Zinara) chief executive Frank Chitukutuku was Thursday denied bail on the basis that he is facing a serious offence and that if convicted he is likely to face a custodial sentence, a prospect which could induce him to flee.
Chitukutuku was arrested over the weekend on allegations of fraud – allegedly brought about by corruptly influencing the awarding of contracts worth US$20 million for the rehabilitation of roads to Fremus Enterprisers (Pvt) Ltd without following tender procedures.
He was denied bail by Harare magistrate Francis Mapfumo, who determined that he was a flight risk.
Chitukutuku’s lawyer had argued that the accused could submit his passport to the clerk of court as surety, along with other stringent bail conditions.
But Mapfumo ruled in favour of the State who had reasoned that there were compelling reasons justifying Chitukutuku’s continued detention.
Mapfumo contended that Zimbabwe’s borders were porous, adding there was no guarantee that Chitukutuku would not leave the country even upon surrendering his passport.
Chitukutuku had also attempted to change his name while under investigation and this, Mapfumo said, was meant to defeat the course of justice.
It is the State’s case that between January 2009 and May 31, 2016 Chitukutuku, being a public officer, corruptly influenced the awarding of contracts worth US$20 million for the rehabilitation of roads to Fremus Enterprisers (Pvt) Ltd without following tender procedures.
The court heard that Chitukutuku connived with former Zinara technical director Julius Juma to award Fremus Enterprisers (Pvt) Ltd road works rehabilitation contracts in several rural district councils without following due process.
It was further alleged that Chitukutuku had a long list of expensive properties and was also the owner of two renowned companies, Farm Pride (Pvt) Limited and an insurance company, Champions Insurance, which boast of assets estimated at over US$15 million..