Crafty and daring consulting engineer fleeces Philip Chiyangwa of US$3million
Prominent businessman Mr Philip Chiyangwa is believed to have been fleeced of US$3 million after his consulting engineer allegedly misrepresented the cost of building materials and services for various construction projects.
The Zimbabwe Association of Consultancy Engineers (Zace) has since opened investigations. Mr Chiyangwa said he was shocked by the theft.
“I am the victim here and asking me to comment is putting me in a tight spot,” he said.
“These people have been stealing my money for the past four years, inflating bills of quantities and, at times, payment figures.
“Speaking to the Press will not help much in recovering my lost investments. All I can say is the engineer is a very dangerous engineer.”
Information gathered last week indicates Mr Chiyangwa — through his property vehicle, Pinnacle Holdings — engaged a construction company known as Tarcon to develop some of his properties and appointed the consulting engineer.
Businessman Mr Supa Mandiwanzira is board chairman of the firm. It is understood the engineer (name withheld) connived with some Tarcon employees to inflate the bills of items required at the properties.
They would then, it is alleged, purchase the material at much lower prices and pocket the difference. The matter only came to light after a Tarcon audit. The firm has since requested Zace to de-register the engineer. Mr Chiyangwa said he was willing to assist with investigations, adding that he has already repossessed a vehicle the engineer was using.
The engineer could not be reached for comment. Mr Mandiwanzira would not be drawn into commenting yesterday, referring all questions to group managing director Mr Lawrence Gudo.
Mr Gudo said: “We have written a letter to Zace complaining after we realised (the engineer) was billing us for the same services that he was billing Pinnacle Holdings for.
“We are investigating the matter as we are convinced he was working with some of our employees to break principles of engineering.
“He was double dipping. We will do everything we can to recover our losses.”
He added that a high-ranking official had resigned over the matter. The company, however, refused to accept his resignation letter until investigations are concluded. Zace president Engineer Peter Rix said the matter was due for a hearing.
“That case is before the disciplinary committee. There is nothing much I can tell you about it at the moment, though,” he said.
Engineering Council of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Eng Ben Rafemoyo said: “We are the regulating board of the council and we have the last word on whether to suspend, penalise or de-register engineers.
“As it stands, we have not yet received the matter, but when we do, we will act without any fear or favour, according to laid-down procedures.”