Five men were yesterday convicted of fleecing Harare Central Hospital of more than $68 000 in a pharmaceuticals supply deal that went wrong.
The five, Stansfield Dhokwani director at Floralsplah Investments, Nicholas Manja, Albert Chisema Malcley Health Care director, Gift Ziyambe Critical Health Services director and Collen Malambo Makuyana, chief accounting officer at the hospital were found guilty by Harare provincial magistrate Barbra Chimboza after a full trial.
The other two accused persons, Dhokwani and Mjanja were acquitted of 13 counts of fraud but were convicted of receiving stolen property.
Chisema, Ziyambe and Makuyana were however convicted of 13 counts of fraud another 13 counts of receiving stolen property.
In handing down judgement, Chimboza noted that fraud cases involve a degree of planning and the state witnesses explained the role played by the accused.
“The court is convinced that the accused persons committed the offence… The court is of the view that the accused persons created confusion because they did not think through the consequences of changing their defense outlines,” said magistrate Chimboza adding that the accused persons’ defense outline was only for confusing the court.
She also added that fake invoices found their way into Harare Central Hospital suggesting that there was an insider.
Prosecutor George Manokore told the court that in 2008, the Health Ministry awarded a tender to Laryscope Health Care (Pvt) Ltd to supply pharmaceutical products to Harare Central Hospital.
On December 21, 2010, the hospital requested pharmaceutical products worth $8 400 from the company.
The goods were supplied and the pharmaceutical shop submitted requisition copies, goods received and its tax invoice. On February 15, 2011, the hospital acknowledged receipt of the products. The accused connived to forge a tax invoice.
They also forged a letter purporting that Laryscope instructed the hospital to transfer all payments to Floralsplah Investment’s bank account.
Acting on the misrepresentation, the hospital transferred $8 400 to Floralsplah. Dhokwani, who is a signatory to Floralsplah’s bank account, withdrew the money.
On June 28, 2011, the hospital requested pharmaceutical products worth $2 250.
Using the same modus operandi, the accused forged documents bearing Ballstring Investments (Pvt) Ltd letterheads and recommended the hospital transfer money into the company’s bank account.
Mjanja, who is a signatory of the Ballstring’s bank account, withdrew the money in connivance with the quartet.
The court heard that the hospital made several requests for pharmaceutical supplies between December 2010 and December 2014 amounting to $68 783. All the money was transferred into Floralsplah and Ballstring bank accounts and nothing was recovered.