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Pic credit: Lee Maidza Herald

ZimStats boss out on bail for school fees fraud

ZimStats director general Taguma Mahonde was released on US$200 bail by a Harare magistrate on Monday. He is accused of fraud for allegedly claiming US$4,000 school fees allowance for a child who does not exist.

Mahonde, 53, of Gono Street in Malborough, was arrested by ZACC last Tuesday. He also faces charges of corruption and obstruction of justice.

The state argued that Mahonde was not a suitable candidate for bail because he committed a serious offence. However, Harare magistrate Marewanazvo Gofa dismissed this argument and granted him bail.

“The seriousness of the offence is not a valid reason to bar this court from granting the accused bail.

“The State witness even agreed that there is no offence since even the board passed the resolution proposed by the accused.

“The accused has a right to be seen as innocent until proven guilty.

“This court therefore finds that he is a suitable candidate for bail.

“Therefore, the accused shall pay US$200 bail to the clerk of court, surrender his travel documents, not interfere with witnesses and reside at his given address.”

The state alleges that Mahonde received US$4,000 from ZimStats by lying about his child’s school fees. It also alleges that he tried to cover up his offence by refunding ZW$756 047.33 in March this year, when ZACC started investigating him. However, this amount was only equivalent to US$826 at the interbank rate of the day.