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Air Zimbabwe fraud case is political says former CEO

The criminal case in which two former Air Zimbabwe officials, former company secretary Grace Pfumbidzayi and former Chief Executive Officer Peter Chikumba, are accused of defrauding the national airline of €5 175 593 and US$502 748 through an insurance scam, is politically motivated and is aimed at denying Chikumba his terminal benefits,  the former Air Zimbabwe boss said yesterday. “Air Zimbabwe Holdings (Pvt) Ltd is being abused and misused by powerful politicians in a bid to drag my name into alleged clandestine transactions such that I lose my right to claim my terminal benefits,” he said according to The Herald. Chikumba and Pfumbidzayi are alleged to have defrauded the national airline through a scam that involved Navistar Insurance. Pfumbidzayi said the national airline was forced to use Navistar when the ZIMRE Holdings, through which the airline was insured, was placed under sanctions. “The appointment of Navistar Insurance under these circumstances was lawful. Prior to March 16, 2009 Marsh Insurance Brokers (Pvt) Ltd acted as the local insurance broker to Air Zimbabwe Holdings (Pvt) Ltd placing the risk with Nicoz Diamond Insurance Zimbabwe who in turn reinsured the risk to Zimre Reinsurance Company who further reinsured the risk with the international market via London aviation reinsurance brokers, Willis Aviation.  On an unknown date but prior to January 31, 2009 Zimre Reinsurance Company (Pvt) Ltd was placed on the sanctions list thus the reinsurance cover on Air Zimbabwe Holdings (Pvt) Ltd’s aeroplanes ceased at midnight on January 31, 2009,” Pfumbidzayi said in her defence outline.

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