Witness exonerates ZINARA boss

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A KEY State witness in the matter involving  Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) Finance Director, Simon Taranhike, has told the court that he is a mere victim of internal conflicts and professional jealousy in the parastatal.

Testifying before Harare magistrate Hosea Mujaya, Zinara Finance Director Anywhere Mudodo made indications to the effect that Taranhike, who is facing charges of criminal abuse of office, had no authority to release the fuel coupons.

Taranhike had earlier pleaded not guilty to charges of releasing 1 800 litres of fuel to some members of the media in a bid to buy their silence in on-going investigations at the parastatal.

Mudodo told the court that there was rivalry between the then acting CEO, Mathlene Mujokoro and Finance director Taranhike.

“There was acrimony between Finance Director, Taranhike and the then acting CEO Mathlene Mujokoro, who was Zinara’s acting chief executive as they were competing for the position as Mujokoro was also gunning for the same top post,” Mudodo said.

Further, Mudodo refused to comment on allegations that the rivalry between Zinara Finance Director and other board members arose from the fact that Taranhike had challenged the partnership with Univern (a company which manufactures and supplies number plates), alleging it was causing unnecessary expenses.

Mudodo refused to comment on basis that there was no evidence.

Another State witness who also testified in this case is Zinara’s head of the Legal department, Frank Hwenhira, who exonerated Finance Director Taranhike, saying he was a victim of internal squabbles.

The matter was postponed to September 20 for continuation of trial.

Allegations are that sometime on a date unknown to the State, Finance Director Taranhike released 1 800 litres of fuel to some members of the local media and abused the parastatal’s petty cash.

The witness made it clear before the court that Taranhike was a victim of a smear campaign and professional jealousy.

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