Mike Chimombe and Moses Mpofu appear in court over Presidential Goats Scheme fraud charges


HARARE – Controversial businessmen Mike Chimombe (43) and Moses Mpofu (49) appeared in the Harare Magistrates Court today on fraud charges linked to their involvement in the $88 million Presidential Goats Scheme.

Mike Chimombe and Moses Mpofu in court

The State alleges that Chimombe and Mpofu forged a ZIMRA tax clearance certificate and a NSSA compliance certificate in the name of Blackdeck Private Limited. 

These documents were attached to a tender bid submitted to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries, and Rural Development for the supply of goats for the Presidential Goat Pass-on Scheme. 

The forged documents misrepresented that Blackdeck was fully compliant with ZIMRA and NSSA requirements.

Investigations revealed discrepancies, including that the QR code and reference on the NSSA compliance certificate were issued to a different company, and Blackdeck Private Limited had been deregistered from the NSSA system since January 2016. 

Additionally, Blackdeck had not been issued a ZIMRA tax clearance certificate for 2021, and the QR code on the forged certificate belonged to another company.

Based on these misrepresentations, the Ministry of Lands contracted Blackdeck on November 3, 2021, transferring ZWL 901,294,200 and ZWL 698,705,800 on April 21, 2022, and June 29, 2022, respectively, into Blackdeck's bank account, totaling ZWL 1.6 billion (USD 7,712,197).

Following delays in goat deliveries, Ministry officials engaged with the accused, who claimed to have mobilised 32,500 goats ready for distribution. 

However, a subsequent verification process revealed that only 3,713 goats were in their holding sites. The Ministry cancelled the contract on August 29, 2022, after discovering the discrepancy.

The accused ultimately supplied 4,208 goats valued at USD 331,445, converting USD 7,380,751 to their personal use. None of the funds were recovered.

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) contends that the pair were paid USD 40 million but failed to deliver. 

Mpofu disputes this, claiming only USD 4 million (RTGS 1.6 billion) was received through his Blackdeck Livestock and Poultry company before the government terminated the tender. He also asserts that Chimombe was an agent, not a principal, in the deal.

Chimombe and Mpofu appeared before Magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa. Their lawyer, Tapson Dzvetero, told reporters outside court that the charges are "trumped up" due to "political rivalry." 

Magistrate Gofa postponed the matter to tomorrow at 2:15 PM for a bail hearing to determine whether the accused attended court from home or from ZACC custody. 

Their lawyer claim they came from home, while the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) insists they were in ZACC custody.

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