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Former top Zim official allegedly commits suicide

Zimbabwe
Harare ‑ A former government chief buyer has allegedly committed suicide on Tuesday.

Former State Procurement Board (SPB) chairman Charles Kuwaza committed suicide in the capital Tuesday, where he is said to have jumped from the ninth floor of Harare Club Chambers in the central business district.

The building is located diagonally opposite Parliament Building, at the corner of Third Street and Nelson Mandela Avenue.

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Charles Kuwaza's body lies on a tarmac in the Harare CBD. Picture: ANA

No official details could be obtained, and even a relative, who preferred anonymity, responded to African News Agency that: “[I] don’t have full details as yet.”

It was said Kuwaza had gone there to collect documents to help with his defence in a matter he faces before the courts. He was facing five counts of corruption involving US$1 million and ZW$2,5 billion.

In March, Kuwaza was freed on US$2 000 bail. ANA heard the former SPB boss went to his office at around 11am in the morning accompanied by his wife, who remained in the car downstairs as Kuwaza went up to his office.

It was only after his wife followed him that his lifeless body was found on the tarmac. It was almost an hour later before the body was covered by a blue blanket, as police units guarded it before it could be ferried away.

The SPB is the government’s buying entity, which previously was tasked with flighting tenders and awarding them to winners, before the Office of the President took over the process, citing massive irregularities at the government buying arm.

Kuwaza, who was at the helm of the SPB since the early 2000s, was kicked out of the government buying entity in November 2015 after being accused of violating professional ethics by allegedly awarding tenders to companies that did not meet specifications.

He denied the charges, admitting in 2012 before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance that the SPB had corrupt officers who “opened tenders and phoned bidders demanding bribes to facilitate winning”.

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