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Assetfin file application to investigate Gumbo

A HARARE property company, Assetfin, has lodged a High Court application seeking an order to compel the Anti-Corruption Commission to immediately investigate corruption charges against one of its shareholders, a former ZBC director Oniyas Gumbo.

The firm has also accused top commission executives of cronyism in declining to probe Gumbo.
The commission, its chief executive officer Ngonidzashe Gumbo, general manager Sukai Tongogara and senior official Charles Charuma are cited as respondents in the application and are accused of complicity in failing to investigate allegations against Gumbo, which included forgery.
Assetfin director Paul Chidawanyika, through his lawyers Mbidzo, Muchadehama & Makoni, filed the application on Wednesday accusing the anti-graft commission of failing to professionally investigate allegations of forgery on vital company documents purportedly “doctored” by Gumbo in his bid to wrestle ownership of the company.
Chidawanyika accused Ngonidzashe Gumbo of failing to probe Oniyas Gumbo, his purported relative. The Assetfin director further claimed that the commission could also have failed to investigate Gumbo because of his alleged relationship with Tongogara.
Gumbo — currently with a 50% stake in Assetfin, according to the court application, is fighting to oust directors linked to Unitime Investments (Pvt) Ltd, a 50% shareholder of the company.
Chidawanyika alleged in his founding affidavit in possession of businessdigest that the ex-ZBC finance director claimed to be an Assetfin director despite  his resignation three years ago.
Following his resignation, Gumbo, the court papers further read, did not appoint a director to represent his interests.
“This is an application for an order compelling the Anti-Corruption Commission to expeditiously investigate reports that have been made with it as required by law,” reads  Chidawanyika’s affidavit dated November 3 2010.
“The applicant feels strongly that the respondent (commission) is selectively applying the law by choosing which cases to deal with and which ones to ignore. All the cases that we have reported have not been actioned (sic). While our reports have gone unattended, all counter reports made by Gumbo afterwards have been investigated and are being prosecuted with alarming speed. We feel therefore that the respondent is now being used by Oniyas Gumbo to obstruct legitimate complaints and to further his own criminal activities, including extortion.”
The Anti-Corruption Act empowers the commission to dutifully investigate reported public and private sector corruption. But the commission, according to Chidawanyika claimed the commission had on several occasions turned a deaf ear on allegations made by the company.
“We now realise that he (Oniyas Gumbo) meant it when he said it. He has declared that nothing will happen to him because he is a relative of  Mr Gumbo who is the chief executive officer of the respondent,” the affidavit reads. “We believe that this is true considering that they have similar surnames. Furthermore, Oniyas Gumbo claims that the chairman of the sub-committee on investigations, a Mr Khumalo is related to the principal investigating officer Charuma by blood. The said Charuma is also believed to be related to the CEO Gumbo by marriage.”
Earlier this year, the commission, according to Chidawanyika, failed to investigate charges of forgery on company documents by Gumbo.
“In March 2010 we reported Oniyas Gumbo under CR22/04/10 for the offence of forging CR14 forms and thereby misrepresenting to the Registrar of Companies that he is a director of Assetfin causing potential prejudice to the applicant. To date nothing has been done with regard to that report,” he alleged.
A copy of a letter attached to the court papers also shows that Chidawnayika in August this year wrote to commission chairperson Eric Harid  appealing for the prosecution of the commission’s officials he accused of “acting in a manner contrary to and inconsistent with their duties”.
Chidawanyika also claimed that the commission failed to investigate another case against Gumbo reported last year.
“Sometime ago a report was made by Star Tours (Pvt) Ltd represented by Marko Tumbe against Oniyas Gumbo for committing unlawful double sales in the name of Assetfin in Case No. ACC 1611/09,” Chidawanyika averred.
The matter, Chidawanyika claimed, was never investigated prompting the Director of Public Prosecutions in the Attorney-General’s office Florence Ziyambi to write a letter asking the commission to investigate the matter.
“We have argued that to execute this plan he (Gumbo) has corruptly paid officials at the Registrar of Companies to alter documents to reflect that he is a director of Assetfin and to remove the current directors,” reads the application.
The commission was by yesterday yet to respond to the court application.

 

Bernard Mpofu

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