Wisdom Hombarume is the former ZBC acting chief executive. In July 2020, Hombarume was arrested on allegations of fraud involving a business trip to Botswana for which he collected allowances from the ZBC.
He was suspended without benefits after it was discovered he held a degree from an accredited university.
Hombarume was discovered to possess a fake Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree. The degree was awarded by Pakistan’s Ashwood University.
The Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (Zimche), which is responsible for quality assurance on higher education, confirmed to ZBC that Hombarume's degree was awarded by an unaccredited institution. Zimche wrote:
“The Ashwood University is not accredited in its own country of origin, Pakistan. As a matter of principle, Zimche does not recognise foreign qualifications awarded by institutions that are not accredited in their own country. Therefore, the qualification is not recognised in Zimbabwe.”
In response, ZBC terminated Hombarume's salary and other perks. Hombarume was initially suspended with benefits in July 2020 following his arrest on allegations of fraud involving a business trip to Botswana for which he collected allowances from the ZBC.
=Fraud, Criminal Abuse of Office and Smuggling Case
Wisdom Hombarume was arrested in July 2020 on fraud, criminal abuse of office and smuggling involving over US$6 700. He appeared before Harare Regional Magistrate Ms Bianca Makwande who released him on $5 000 bail. He was remanded out of custody to August 27 2020.
It is alleged that on January 27 2020, Nick Mangwana received an application letter for Cabinet authority from Hombarume to proceed to Maun, Botswana.
Mangwana advised Hombarume to attend a SADC TV channel and post DDT Migration workshop by virtue of ZBC’s membership of the Southern African Broadcasting Association (SABA).
The workshop was held from February 10 to 14 2020. On February 7, it is alleged that an amount of US$6 730 was transferred from the ZBC Nostro account into Hombarume’s Nostro account, while an air ticket worth US$1 244 was bought for him.
Between February 8 and 15, Hombarume is alleged to have not gone to Botswana and did not report for work.
Hombarume allegedly misrepresented facts to Mangwana that he was attending the Maun workshop yet ZBC was not represented.
The offence was discovered when Mangwana called for investigations into foreign trips done by ZBC staff and a special committee headed by Ambassador Thomas Bvuma discovered the offence.
It is alleged that by misrepresenting that he was representing ZBC at the workshop in Botswana and converting the money for the trip to personal use, Hombarume failed to protect the interests of the national broadcaster as the then accounting officer.
ZBC suffered prejudice of US$6 730.
On the second count, on February 19 2020, Hombarume, Gilbert Nyambabvu and Tapiwa Masikati Mudzamba went to South Africa where they attended a workshop with officials from Star Times and MultiChoice.
It is alleged that during their stay, Hombarume unlawfully made a payment of US$1 050 to Nyambabvu and US$550 to Mudzamba as their travel and subsistence allowance, which was to be given back to him.
On February 21 2021, Hombarume acted contrary and inconsistent to his duties as a public officer and unlawfully and without following the proper procedures, purchased a lapel microphone kit worth over US$393,31 from Timbre Broadcast Systems and hard luggage carry case worth US$318,59 from Moda Luggage and Leather, South Africa.
On arrival in Zimbabwe, Hombarume is alleged to have instructed the equipment to be included in the stores' records without any documentation.
On the third count, Hombarume arrived at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport from South Africa where he is alleged to have smuggled the lapel microphone kit and the hard luggage.
In June 2021, Hombarume's trial failed to begin following indications that the prosecutor handling the matter Mrs Cecilia Mashingaidze is not feeling well. The State led by Mr Shephered Makonde successfully applied for a postponement of the matter to June 29 to allow Mrs Mangaidze time to recover.
Harare regional Magistrate Mrs Esthere Chivasa deferred the matter to June 29 2021 for trial commencement.
High Court Salary Challenge
In March 2021, the High Court dismissed with costs Hombarume's application seeking to block ZBC from stopping paying his salary and perks.
Wisdom Hombarume approached the High Court after ZBC abruptly terminated his salary and other perks following a discovery that he had a dodgy degree.
Justice David Mangota dismissed Hombarume's urgent application, finding that he misled the court.
Mangota said Hombarume sought to conceal important information regarding the reasons behind the suspension of his salary and benefits. The judge said the application was a “limping duck” and fatally defective due to material non-disclosure, and ordered it struck off the roll of urgent matters.
- MUTONGI GAVA, Dodgy degree ex-ZBC CEO Hombarume suffers High Court setback, ZimLive, Published: March 3, 2021, Retrieved: June 4, 2021
- Former ZBC boss gets bail, The Herald, Published: July 22, 2020, Retrieved: June 4, 2021
- Ex-ZBC boss trial hits snag, The Herald, Published: June 3, 2021, Retrieved: June 4, 2021