- Case provides glimpses on how wealth is distributed among high ranking officials
HARARE – Former Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri has claimed that President Mnangagwa is persecuting him over a war time clash over a woman, in a case where he is challenging the validity of the Unexplained Wealth Order Act.
This comes after a High Court order called on Chihuri to explain his wealth after the State listed his assets for forfeiture.
The State accused Chihuri of diverting US$32 mln of public funds into family companies and buying a large swathe of properties. The State seeks to freeze Chihuri’s companies and the properties, which his family acquired during his 25 years at the helm of the police force, pending the final outcome of possible criminal investigations and civil suits.
In his court application, Chihuri through his lawyers Kantor and Immerman, is challenging the validity of some sections of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act 2019 in terms of which the unexplained wealth order had been granted.
He says the order violates his constitutionally guaranteed rights especially the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. The order, which is final in nature against Chihuri, did not afford him the right to be heard and violates his right to protection of the law.
By limiting itself to only people who hold property whose value is greater than US$100 000, the Act unfairly and discriminately targets the Chihuri family on the basis of their social and economic status. Chihuri also said that parts of the Act take away the liberty to deal with his family properities as they please.
He calls the order an incurably bad law.
Revenge act from President Mnangagwa?
Chihuri believes that the root of the problem is politically targeted persecution of his family. He puts it on record that his social relationship between President Mnangagwa and himself has been broken since the liberation struggle and degenerated into a personal hate.
He narrates that he got married “the Zanu way”in Chomoio in Mozambique before then political commissar the late Mayor Urimbo around 1976 and the following year in 1977, his wife got pregnant.
According to Chihuri, President Mnangagwa upon learning of the pregnancy used his position to get his wife transferred to Shai Shai in Mozambique where he forced her into an affair.
“I tried to terminate the marriage but the Political Commissar threatened me not to dare do it, citing that Mnangagwa was a dangerous man and would behead me as he was not hesitant to kill.”
Chihuri said there were suggestions that the pregnancy be terminated but even though it was tried, it failed.
He said the late Cde Serbia who was working under Mnangagwa in the Security Department told him about the termination of the pregnancy and that Mnangagwa had vowed that as long as he lived, Chihuri would pay for not giving up on his wife to him. “Cde Serbia warned me again to keep quiet or else I would perish and never see the light of day.”
“…this is a personal matter being turned into a national spectacle for the purpose of victimisation.”
Refusal to participate in the coup
Chihuri, who led the police force for 27 years said that the main reason for persecution was his refusal to participate in the November 2017 coup that toppled the late President Mugabe. “I was consequently retired from the force, when other Service Chiefs were reassigned to other portfolios”
He also said allegations that he ordered the arrest of Vice President Constantino Chiwenga at the Harare International Airport were made up to sow divisions of hate.
Chihuri says that in spite of his long service he was “chased out of the office like a dog” and was not given a chance to do a handover to current Commissioner General Godwin Matanga. This was because then Home Affairs Minister had directed that he vacates the office immediately. “I was not given an opportunity to even take my personal belongings including my family pictures, which Commissioner General Godwin Matanga is still holding up to this day”
Chihuri said Matanga had been promoted to that post as a reward for participating in the coup even though his appointment was not procedural.
According to Chihuri, Matanga is incompetent due to his lack of education. “He realises that a mere ZIPAM holder is in a vulnerable position as his deputies are more educated than him. He does not even hold an O-Level certificate which is a basic requirement for a constable to join the police.”
He alleges that Matanga was involved in the fire incident at his Harare home, which saw several records being destroyed. He claims that Matanga had made use of his kinsmen who was stationed at his residence and that while a report had been made, it had not been acted upon.
How he acquired his wealth
Chihuri said that he worked hard for his wealth and that all of his dealings were above board after having been subjected to legal procurement procedures.
He said the properties which were listed by the Prosecutor General were legitimately sourced and have nothing to do with alleged money laundering. The Greendale (Athlone) property was bought in 1985 for cash after he sold a property in Mutare, Darwendale (Fishponds) were bought in 1990, Quinnington Stand was bought in 1999 with construction works being completed in 2004 while the Zengeza property was acquired in 2007.
He noted that some of the stands listed were not theirs, some had been surrendered while others were legally disposed off. He also queried the estimated values of the properties of $150 mln saying they were thumb sucked.”For example how can a Zengeza high density 3 roomed house be valued at $7 mln…an old house built by the Chitungwiza municipality.”
Chihuri said he had ventured into business in 1996 when he acquired a loan from CBZ. The company Kisdale Enterprises (heavy machinery and equipment) operated from 1996 to 2017. “This company was our biggest source of income.”
He also explains that some of his farms were acquired before the land reform programme and noted that after the coup, GMB refused to take his maize produce which he had to distribute to his village at a loss.
He provides glimpses into the allocation of stands at Gletwyn where he bought and consolidated several stands. He says Mashonaland East State Minister consolidated two stands together and also notes the animosity that exists between them. Ex- ZRP commissioner Oliver Chibage, Farai Matsika, VP Chiwenga and Former DCG Matibhire had all consolidated two stands in the area.
He says that most of the companies that supply to the police were linked to the officers including Matanga under the banner of indigenisation and all tenders go through an adjudication process . He said they never received a complaint about substandard goods and that it was surprising that only the department, which fell under Matanga during his tenure had raised concerns about the supply of services from his linked companies.