Wadyajena Admits Own Trucks Bought By Cottco Money But Pleads Innocence
20 September 2022
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Gokwe Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena has filed an application challenging his placement on remand with suspended executives of the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe on fraud and money laundering charges, saying there was no evidence linking him and his company to the offences. Wadyajena argues that Cottco has not raised any complaints against him and his company, Mayor Logistics, which is also being charged with fraud. Suspended Cottco bosses Pius Manamike, Maxmore Njanji, Fortunate Molai, Chiedza Danha and her company, Pierpoint Moncroix, are appearing in court on similar charges. They allegedly used US$5 834 000 meant for importing bale ties to import trucks, buy fuel and make an assortment of other payments that had nothing to do with the ties. Danha and her company, Pierpoint Moncroix, have also filed an application for refusal of further remand. Wadyajena and Mayor Logistics, who are represented by lawyer Mr Oliver Marwa, argued that the State failed to outline the role they played in committing the alleged offences. They were included in the remand hearing because some of the allegedly diverted money was used to buy 22 trucks that are now owned by Mayor Logistics. Wadyajena’s legal team argues that the State is saying the fraud took place within Cottco and was perpetrated by those working in Cottco. This, they further argue, means that there is no link to Wadyajena and his company. For the remand to stick, the State had to at least allege knowing association by Wadyajena and his company to deceive Cottco and that Wadyajena was present when the plan was hatched or when the fictitious purchase was carried out, they said. Wadyajena and his company said the State also failed to link them with Pierpoint Moncroix or how they could have influenced it into committing the alleged offence. “We have combed through the Form 242 but failed to notice any allegation to the effect that the 25 Freightliner trucks whose details are itemised were imported under the guise of a consignment of bale ties destined for the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe. “The State actually concedes that the trucks were correctly described as road tractors for semi-trailers in the consignment papers. Most importantly, there is no positive allegation that they were paid for by any money belonging to the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe”. Thus, Wadyajena argues, there was no connection between him and the company on one hand and the alleged business or deals of the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe and Giant Equipment, US-based truck supplier. It was also argued that the State did not allege that the shipment and purchase of the trucks was made from Cottco funds. Wadyajena said the allegations were “purely made with the calculated intention of improperly colouring the court’s mind and inducing public indignation” against him and Mayor Logistics. “This allegation is not capable of being proved at trial because it is patently false. It was meant to manufacture a non-existent link between the two applicants and the alleged criminal infractions at the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe.” Wadyajena and his company argued that the State’s allegations amount to a supply contract which was breached, which will render the case a civil matter. “The allegations seem to be that the bale ties that were ordered were not duly delivered. If the court agrees with this conception of the charges, it ought to find that there is no sufficient basis to have placed the accused on remand in the first place. This becomes a supply contract that was breached. It is a civil matter,” they said. Danha and her company, who are represented by lawyer Mr Harrison Nkomo, also filed their application for refusal of further remand arguing that the State failed to establish a link between them and Cottco, Mayor Logistics and Giant Equipment LLC, USA. They said it was unclear how Danha had direct control of Pierpoint Moncroix. Danha and her company also denied money laundering charges they are facing and claimed that they did not launder any proceeds of any crime, nor benefitted from the truck imports. The State led by Mr Lancelot Mutsokoti is yet to respond to the two applications. Meanwhile, reports circulating in parliament have accused the corruption-charged, Gokwe Nembudziya MP, Justice Wadyajena of paying both the Speaker, and the Clerk of Parliament. How can the Clerk ignore this Wadyajena matter and only respond to the one of Blinart?, a whistleblower asked ZimEye. Wadyajena cannot chair a committee when he has a case of corruption against him.

The Speaker and the Clerk were still to comment on the allegations at the time of writing.

Anonymous sources also alleged that ZANU PF Makoni South MP  Misheck Mataranyika (Vice Chairperson of the African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption (APNAC) is one of the officials paid by Wadjajena, and this was after Mataranyika had published the following response:

Honourable Chairman, Sir.

The issue that you address in that press statement is an important issue that we would all want to see being handled fairly and concluded logically within the dictates of the standing rules and orders of Parliament of Zimbabwe and laws of Zimbabwe.

However, I have strong reservations when you take and express the position of APNAC unilaterally without consulting fellow members. In my humble view a meeting of the Committee should have been called up and the matter tabled for discussion before agreeing on the course of action including drafting of a press statement, if that is the agreed direction to be taken by the Committee.

The problem with taking unilateral action is that it is likely to lack ownership by members of the Committee, and that is not good governance of an organisation. Members, or majority of members, should identify with the position and/ or line of action taken by the organisation, something that has not been tested in this particular case. This reasoning applies to this case and any other case that may come before the APNAC Committee in future.

With all due respect, I therefore call upon you, Hon Chair, to withdraw the statement and urgently call for a meeting of the Committee to deliberate on the matter. This is the correct, professional and transparent manner of running any Committee business, APNAC included.

I have written this response to your purported press statement in my capacity as both, a bona fide member and Vice Chairman of APNAC Zimbabwe.

M.D. Mataranyika (Hon)
Vice Chairperson APNAC Zimbabwe.

The Speaker and the Clerk were still to comment on the allegations at the time of writing. – State media/additional reporting