Ex-GMB boss faces 508 corruption charges

HARARE - The former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Grain Marketing Board, GMB, Retired Colonel Samuel Muvuti, has gone on trial in Harare accused of abusing his office and misappropriating funds from the state-owned grain utility.

The prosecution, led by Prosecutor Obi Mabahwana and Ms Rekai Maposa, alleges Muvuti criminally abused his office and stole from the grain utility almost Z$7,6 billion through under invoicing. He is also facing charges of selling fuel and grain on the black market, personally benefiting from the wealth he amassed as a result.

The trial is one of the biggest corruption cases in Zimbabwe in recent years and part of a wider scandal involving the widespread black market sale of fuel by Zanu (PF) cronies and war veterans on grabbed farms.

The 508 counts of corruption facing Muvuti reveal a web of dubious dealings in the State grain utility.

Muvuti was arrested during a dusk-raid on his home by detectives from the Anti-Corruption Unit last Thursday in the presence of his wife and children. He was detained at Rhodesville Police Station Thursday night until his court appearance Monday.

The State is alleging that Muvuti, who has been demoted from the position of GMB CEO to operations director, bought 124,453.1 litres of fuel at a paltry Z$650 per litre and resold it on the black market for up to Z$4 million per litre. The fuel he allegedly abused was meant for the GMB’s vehicle fleet.

The State is further alleging that Muvuti stole 6,5 tons of beef fattening meal and took it to his Mvurwi farm to feed his herd of cattle. Muvuti grabbed the plush farm from a white commercial farmer.

The ex-GMB boss denies all the charges and says he has been made a scapegoat to justify grave breaches of judicial ethics.

He was forced last year to leave his post as GMB CEO after his position was advertised in the State press. He has been replaced by Albert Mandizha, an astute ex-police assistant commissioner who recently graduated from the British Council’s Leadership Development Program. – Chief reporter

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