The Botswana Police have launched a massive manhunt for the general manager of Lobatse Clay Works after millions of pula disappeared from the company’s bank account, crippling operations and sending the company to the brink of collapse.
Information passed to Sunday Standard by the Botswana Police Service indicates that Christopher Chemhuru, who was employed as a general manager in the multi million pula brick making company, is wanted in connection with the disappearance of millions from the company’s coffers.
Before Chemhuru’s contract was terminated, LCW was awarded a P72 million tender by a South African company called Kaluba Trading. It is understood that Chemhuru, who was by then the general manager, formed his own company called Chemnon Investment registered in South Africa, and influenced the transfer of millions from the Kaluba Trading account to the Chemnon Investment account through First National Bank in South Africa.
The theft was only discovered after the Botswana government’s investment arm, Botswana Development Corporation, instituted investigations into the matter, only to discover that millions had been unaccounted for.
Detective Superintendent Chifana Toitoi of the Serious Crime Squad confirmed that they were investigating the disappearance of over P1, 3 million from the LCW account, adding that a warrant of arrest had since been issued against Chemhuru, as a suspect.
“We have not yet interviewed the suspect. While previous information suggested that he had fled to Barbados, our latest developments have revealed that he is in Zimbabwe,” he said.
He also revealed that they are still holding preliminary investigations, adding that they will soon institute proceedings to have him extradited to Botswana to come and aid further investigations.
The present general manager of LCW, Buzwani Manyepedza, told Sunday Standard that Chemhuru’s contract was terminated on August 31st 2009, after three years of employment. A subsequent internal audit would later reveal that the general manager had misappropriated millions in company funds.
LCW board chairman James Kamuka of BDC declined to speak to Sunday Standard on Friday.