Fraud: Zimstats Chief ‘Claimed School Fees For Non-Existent Child’

Taguma Mahonde


Taguma Mahonde, the director general of the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStats) appeared in court on Thursday accused of fraud after allegedly claiming US$4,000 as school fees allowance for a child who does not exist.

Mahonde, 53, of Gono Street in Malborough, was arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) on Tuesday.

He was remanded in custody to October 2 for his bail ruling by Harare magistrate Marewanazvo Gofa.

He is also facing a charge of contravening the Prevention of Corruption Act and an alternative charge of obstruction of justice.
The National Prosecuting Authority is opposing bail, alleging that Mahonde used threats to cover up for his crimes.

ZACC’s investigating officer Erica Chacha said they feared that if granted bail, Mahonde would interfere with witnesses.
Chacha said for example, Mahonde abused his position and suspended ZimStats’ internal audit head Claudius Matiza after he found out that he had reported his alleged crimes to ZACC.

“The degree of interference is so severe to the extent that the accused used his position as the director general of ZimStats to fire the witness (Matiza) from work. Realising that Matiza was working with ZACC, he found some dubious charges and caused the witness to be suspended,” Chacha said.

“He went further and phoned the witness on his mobile number, sending threats of future violence and I can quote the words, we are in possession of the recordings.

He (Mahonde) said: ‘You’ve reported me to ZACC. I will get bail like what the NSSA boss and the Clerk of Parliament did and once I’m back at work I will deal with you accordingly.’ So it’s my fear that if he’s granted bail, we won’t have any witness who will come to this court to testify.”

Chacha said intimidation was evident in witnesses they interviewed.

“They are afraid of the accused,” he testified.

Mahonde, it is alleged, further tried to get rid of the evidence and paper trail that could possibly reveal his alleged crimes by manipulating ZimStats’ board.

“The other reason is that the accused is likely to doctor some documents against his case since he is the custodian of the documents which we will use in this court,” he said.

“If he is granted bail, he can go to work and continue with his plans and by the time the trial starts everything will be sanitised.”
According to the state Mahonde received US$4,000 from ZimStats by claiming school fees allowance for a non-existent child.

It is further alleged that when Zacc’s investigations into his alleged corruption started in March this year, he tried to cover up the offence by refunding ZW$756,047.33 but it amounted to US$826 as he had used the interbank rate of 915.


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