A suspected fraudster who had been on the run since last year after he allegedly connived with a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) official and attempted to swindle the tax collector of over $2 million, appeared in court yesterday.

Manase Manjovha (34) from Bulawayo allegedly connived with Zimra’s systems administrator Stephen Moreka who was arrested and taken to court last year.

Following the arrest of Moreka, Manjovha went into hiding and was declared a wanted person by the police.

He then fraudulently obtained new identity documents under a different name. Manjovha was arrested at the American Embassy where he had gone to apply for a visa using the fake documents.

He appeared in court yesterday before magistrate Mrs Rumbidzai Mugwagwa charged him with fraud and “unauthorised access to a computer or computer network”. He was remanded in custody to today for bail ruling after the State led by Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa opposed bail.

It is the State’s case that sometime in April last year, Moreka and Manjovha hatched a plan to steal from ZIMRA.

They opened several bank accounts. Moreka who was on sick leave, accessed the ZIMRA paynet server.

They allegedly connived and uploaded three files into the paynet system with a total of $2 385 073,20 without the authority’s permission.

The duo directed ZIMRA to make payments to the various bank accounts they had fraudulently opened, it is alleged.

To cover-up for the offence, they allegedly cleared all server logs and deleted files. However, the deleted files were recovered by the company’ accountant who then reported the matter to the superiors.

A report was made to the police and investigations led to the arrest of Moreka.herald