-ZIMSTAT Director General Taguma Mahonde Granted $200 Bail on Fraud and Obstruction Charges.
ZIMSTAT Director General Taguma Mahonde has been granted bail of US$200 on charges of fraud and obstructing the course of justice. These charges stem from his alleged corrupt claims for school fee allowances over five terms and his purported attempts to cover up and block investigations into these claims.
The fraud charge centers on Mahonde’s claims for the maximum school fees allowance for three children for the third term of 2021, all three terms in the previous year, and the first term of this year, despite having only two children needing school fees.
Furthermore, the obstruction of justice charge arises from Mahonde’s alleged efforts to obstruct investigations by suspending and subsequently dismissing the ZimStat internal auditor, Claudius Matiza, who had been assisting the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) with their inquiries.
The State and its witness, Investigating Officer Eric Chacha of ZACC, had initially opposed Mahonde’s bail application.
According to the State’s case, Mahonde entered into a contract of employment with ZimStat on June 24, 2019, which included an educational allowance for himself and his children. On September 3, 2021, the ZimStat board of directors increased the education allowance for the director-general to US$800 per child per term for a maximum of three children, totaling a maximum of US$2,400 if there were three or more children.
On various occasions, Mahonde is alleged to have claimed this maximum allowance, resulting in substantial payments into his personal bank account. However, investigations revealed that he had only two school-going children during this period.
The fraudulent claims came to light during an internal audit conducted by Claudius Matiza, who had been assisting ZACC with investigations. On April 20 this year, Mahonde allegedly attempted to obstruct the investigations by suspending Matiza and subsequently dismissing him, allegedly to prevent him from providing evidence to investigators.
This case has sent shockwaves through Zimbabwe, raising concerns about corruption at high levels of government institutions. Mahonde is expected to appear in court for further proceedings as the case unfolds.