Prosecutors’ Update On Mike Chimbudzi, Ooops Chimombe
28 June 2024
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Detailed Developments in the Mike Chimombe and Moses Mpofu Bail Hearing

Harare, Zimbabwe – June 27, 2024

The National Prosecuting Authority of Zimbabwe has provided a significant update in the ongoing bail proceedings for Mike Chimombe (43) and Moses Mpofu (49). The case, involving allegations of fraud and corruption linked to the Presidential Goat Scheme, has drawn considerable attention.

Mike Chimombe coming out of prison van

Allegations and Evidence

Mike Chimombe and Moses Mpofu are accused of forging critical documents, including a ZIMRA tax clearance certificate and a NSSA compliance certificate, purportedly belonging to Blackdeck Private Limited. These forged documents were allegedly submitted to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries, and Rural Development as part of a tender application for the highly scrutinized Presidential Goat Pass-on Scheme.

Mike Chimombe cartoon

Investigative Findings:

  • The accused reportedly used the forged certificates to demonstrate compliance with ZIMRA and NSSA regulations.
  • Further investigations revealed that the QR code on the NSSA compliance certificate was from a different company.
  • The ZIMRA tax clearance certificate, purportedly issued to Blackdeck, was discovered to belong to another firm.

Misrepresentation and Financial Transactions

The Ministry of Lands contracted Blackdeck Private Limited on November 16, 2021. Significant financial transactions have been flagged:

  • Between April 21 and June 29, 2022, payments totaling ZWL698 million were transferred to Blackdeck’s account.
  • This was purportedly for the supply of goats, but subsequent audits and inspections revealed discrepancies.

Audit Findings:

  • The Ministry of Lands officials noted severe issues with the goats supplied:
  • Only 5,309 goats were received instead of the 72,179 specified for the first year.
  • 3,292 Matebele bucks were supplied, but no Matebele does were delivered.
  • The quality of the goats did not meet the tender specifications, with 3,713 being non-compliant.

Legal Proceedings and Bail Hearing

During today’s bail hearing, the State presented key evidence via voce from the investigating officer. The bail hearing is set to continue tomorrow, with both Chimombe and Mpofu remaining in custody.

Prosecutor’s Statement:
“Given the severity of the allegations and the potential flight risk, we are urging the court to deny bail until the full extent of the investigation is completed,” said the prosecuting attorney.

Public Reaction and Blackdeck’s Defense

In response to the allegations, Blackdeck Private Limited has issued a statement categorically denying any involvement in fraudulent activities. They clarified their role and financial dealings, emphasizing transparency and compliance.

Blackdeck’s Statement:
“We categorically deny these allegations. All funds received were used for the procurement and maintenance of the goats, as per the contract terms. We urge the authorities to thoroughly investigate and verify all documentation,” said a company spokesperson.

Previous Clarifications

This development follows Blackdeck’s earlier statement, which refuted claims by Nick Mangwana and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission that Mike Chimombe had officiated or received USD 40 million from the government in relation to the tender.

Company Clarification:
“Cumulatively, the total payments received amounted to RTGS 1.6 billion (approximately USD 4.28 million), all accounted for in procurement and operational expenses.”

Public Interest Concerns

The case has heightened public scrutiny, not only due to its implications for the Presidential Goat Scheme but also because of broader concerns over corruption and transparency in government contracts.

Prominent figures and the general public have raised questions about the integrity of procurement processes and the potential for abuse in government tenders. This has led to widespread calls for reforms and increased oversight to prevent similar issues in the future.

Implications for Governance and Accountability

This high-profile case continues to unfold with significant public interest, particularly regarding the integrity of the Presidential Goat Scheme and broader implications for governmental transparency. The involvement of notable figures in the public discourse further emphasizes the critical need for reform and accountability in Zimbabwe’s public procurement systems.

As the bail hearing proceeds, updates will be provided on further legal arguments and court decisions.