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Higher education minister and deputy accused of fraud

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Zimbabwean police arrested Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Jonathan Moyo and his deputy, Godfrey Gandawa, on Wednesday for allegedly misappropriating around US$450,000 from a manpower development fund that finances students, among other activities. The politicians were questioned and released.

According to local media, Moyo will appear in court soon.

Days before his arrest the minister – a former politics professor at the University of Zimbabwe and researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, which accused him of embezzling research funds – issued a statement denying any wrongdoing.

He blamed his woes on succession fights in President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party, Zanu-PF. The minister claimed his “persecution” was being driven by the country’s vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who wants to succeed Mugabe.

However, main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, led by former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, and the country’s biggest student union, have said the minister must have his day in court and, if found guilty, repay the allegedly looted Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund, or ZIMDEF.

ZIMDEF was established through an act of parliament to fund human capital development. Among other things, it finances students on industrial attachment programmes. The Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe contributes 100% of the fund.

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba said: “Those named in the ZIMDEF case are expected to appear in court any time from now.”

The case

According to a charge sheet prepared by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, Moyo is alleged to have used part of the ZIMDEF money to fund cronies in his constituency, Tsholotsho, as part of a bid to regain his parliamentary seat in the 2018 general elections.

The minister is also alleged to have been given a US$24,000 loan from ZIMDEF that he used for funeral expenses following the death of his daughter last year in South Africa, where she was studying at the University of Cape Town. The loan was later paid back.

Source: Higher education minister and deputy accused of fraud – University World News