Permanent secretary nails GMB boss
The permanent secretary for Local Government Rural and Urban Development George Magosvongwe yesterday nailed the GMB Pension Fund CEO Taona Munzvandi in an ongoing $2 million fraud trial saying that as the chief executive he was supposed to follow due process in the acquisition of Romany Farm.
Magosvongwe is the chairman of the GMB Pension Fund that Taona Munzvandi leads as CEO.
Munzvandi is being co-charged with Korbs Kobie Mutandiro and Basilio Sandamu of Romant Farm Pvt Ltd where it is alleged that the trio connived to defraud the GMB pension fund.
Prosecuting Micheal Reza is further alleging that Munzvandi and Mutandiro entered into an agreement-of-sale of the said farm to the GMB Pension Fund for $2.5 million knowing that the farm had been acquired by the State.
Magosvongwe told the court that sometime in 2013, he was notified by Munzvandi that Romany supposedly a private enterprise was on sale as they needed a farm for housing project for the fund’s employees.
“The pension fund was looking for land for a housing project for its employees and for general economic investment, we had bought Crowhill farm and Charlotte’s Brooke farm too so I advised him to formally approach the board and present the proposal of a purchase by the fund.
“He convened a legal meeting of the board for purposes of considering purchase and when the board was made aware, and against the backdrop of similar purchases, a resolution was passed for the CEO to pursue the possible investment.
“Due diligence was to be exercised, appropriate procedures known to him had to be followed and in any case, the board couldn’t authorise the transaction that was not procedural without conjecture, we stood to be advised by him because it was his job,” said Magosvongwe.
The perm sec further told the court that on April 30 2013, the same day the board met, Munzvandi and Mutandiro met and proceeded to sign an MOU and agreement of sale in which the purported offer and acceptance was concluded at $2.5 million.
“As a non-executive board, we didn’t pursue the transaction but I asked him to check with the deeds office for endorsements that may have affected Romany Farm and he said the deeds were clean so it was within his authority to proceed with the sale.
“After some time we inquired as to how the transaction has proceeded and he said there was a small technicality yet in actual fact he had failed to obtain a certificate of no present interest from the state, meaning the State owned the land so it couldn’t be sold as alleged,” said Magosvongwe.
He further told the court that Mutandiro received a deposit and became evasive.
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