TWO National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) employees accused of allegedly defrauding a former employee injured at work in 1994 of more than ZW$932 900 on Thursday indicated that the State failed to prove a prima facie case against them and they would apply for discharge this week.
The matter, which has been pending at the courts for a long time under unclear circumstances, resumed two weeks ago in Bulawayo.
The two employees, Charles Marufu (61) of Chief Nembudziya area in Gokwe, who was employed by NRZ as compensation clerk and Lovemore Mutakiwa (59) of Greenhill in Bulawayo, who is employed as receiving cashier by the parastatal, both represented by Lison Ncube, pleaded not guilty to fraud when they appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Gladmore Mushove.
The court had heard testimony from the victim of the fraud, Josphat Stephen Moyo of Nkulumane, who said he was injured while on duty sometime in 1994 and the two defrauded him of his compensation following the accident. The defence lawyer, on Thursday submitted that he would be filing for discharge of the accused on Wednesday.
He said this was because the State had failed to prove a case against his clients. Prosecutor Jeremiah Mutsindikwa told the court that in 1994, Moyo was involved in an accident while in the course of his work and the degree of his disability was assessed to be 30%. Moyo was to receive monthly disability compensation.
It is the State case that on October 30 1997, Moyo retired from NRZ and surrendered his work identity card at the NRZ Rutenga Station where he was based.
Sometime in 2006, the government issued a directive through Statutory Instrument 229, which stated that all disability compensation of 30% and below should be ceased and beneficiaries to be paid a one-off lump sum.
It is the State case that after the government’s directive, the two employees, connived to steal Moyo’s disability payment.
Marufu allegedly assessed Moyo’s disability payment at Z$932 962,98. He allegedly teamed up with Mutakiwa to facilitate the disapproval of the payment voucher in respect of Moyo and thereafter released the said cash, which they converted to their own use.
To cover up for the offence, the two forged Moyo’s signatures on the payment voucher purporting that he had signed and collected his money.
Moyo later discovered that his compensation was no longer coming and investigated, only to discover that the two had allegedly diverted his money. He made a report to the police leading to their arrest.