‘Little progress in Maguwu probe’

POLICE yesterday blamed the director of the Centre for Research and Development, Farai Maguwu, and his lawyers for delaying the completion of investigations into allegations that he authored a false document on the goings-on at Chiadzwa diamond fields.

Investigating officer Inspector Henry Dowa told the Harare Magistrates Court that very “little progress had been made” because Maguwu and his defence team were refusing to give the investigating officer access to a laptop which was recovered at his house.

“He (Maguwu) said he would want the authority of the board of directors and all five board members are out of the country,” Dowa said. “One is in Japan, another in the United Kingdom, another in Canada while the fourth was in South Africa. It is very difficult to get in touch with them to get the authority to access the laptop. It is a very difficult task to look for somebody in Japan or South Africa without a specific address.”

However, Maguwu’s lawyers led by Beatrice Mtetwa said access to the laptop was not an issue as the charges facing Maguwu emanated from the document which was already before the courts and it was unnecessary to look for further documents in the laptop.

Harare magistrate Donald Ndirowei is expected to make a ruling on Maguwu’s bail application today.
Dowa said they would have completed the investigations by June 22 as he had promised the court, if it had not been for the delay by the accused and his defence team and failure to get statements from other witnesses.

The witnesses who Dowa wanted to record statements from include the South African-based Kimberley Processing monitor Abbey Chikane who was given the incriminating document. Three other witnesses, whose residential addresses are unknown, would also assist Dowa with investigations.

“I am not having problems (recording a statement from Chikane) but he is very mobile. I missed him as he had gone to Israel and he would soon be going to Russia. It should be noted that before I go, there are certain procedures that I have to go through, for example Cabinet approval.”

Mtetwa said the investigating officer should not have gone on a “state-sponsored holiday in South Africa” as it was not necessary.

“Chikane’s statement is irrelevant,” Mtetwa said. “His (Chikane’s) document is not forming the basis of the charge Maguwu is facing. It is inconceivable that an officer of 25 years experience would go to South Africa without proper appointment. He did not provide any evidence that he went to South Africa.”
In response, Dowa said he had used his police identification to travel to South Africa as his passport had expired but he offered to call a superior he travelled with as evidence that they went to that country.
Mtetwa roundly criticised the investigating officer for trying to record a statement from Chikane when he had failed to do the same locally as the document from where the charges emanate was allegedly authored by Assistant Commissioner N Mawere.

Inspector Dowa had not recorded a statement from N Mawere or the Mines ministry official from whom he got the document.

Mtetwa added that on June 23, the state said Dowa was in South Africa yet the investigating officer said he returned from that country on June 21.

“This discrepancy was because the state had done nothing towards further investigation,” she said.
Mtetwa said Dowa should have made an “elementary e-mail enquiry” to ascertain where the three other witnesses were as they could have been in the country or even in  the courtroom.

Dowa insisted that the procedure required that the police inform Interpol if there are any extra-territorial investigations to be undertaken and they had done so though he would not provide evidence in court.
Mtetwa asked why the police had not investigated allegations of abuse and torture as ordered by the court.

She said the trend was that Dowa was involved in cases of abuse and torture as he had been sent back from a United Nations Mission in Kosovo on similar accusations.

Dowa said it was not true that he was sent back or recalled but had fallen ill while in Kosovo prompting his return and he had medical cards to prove that.

 

Leonard Makombe

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