JOC plot to smear Biti, Tsvangirai in disarray

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PLOTS by Joint Operations Command chiefs and intelligence services to smear Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s image ahead of the next elections through allegations of corruption and sexual indiscretions, amongst other things, seem to be falling apart, especially after the Highlands housing scandal failed to stick.This comes amid allegations in a Global Witness report released this week that the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) has received about US$100 million in off-budget financing from a Hong Kong businessman, Sam Pa. Some of the funds were allegedly targeted towards an operation codenamed “Spiderweb” – a covert manoeuvre designed to discredit senior MDC officials.
There has been no public denial of the allegations by the CIO. Senior members of the MDC-T, particularly secretary-general Tendai Biti, as well as MDC leader Welshman Ncube are to be also targeted by intelligence agents in their operation.
The smear campaign is aimed at damaging the profiles of President Robert Mugabe’s opponents ahead of the next elections.
Top on its list was the alleged housing scandal in which Tsvangirai was accused of misappropriating US$1,5 million he received from the Reserve Bank in 2009 to buy a house in Harare’s upmarket Highlands suburb. He was allocated a further US$1 million by Treasury for the same project hence allegations of double-dipping and fraud, but investigations into the case seem to have collapsed after Mugabe, who approved the deal, urged caution on the issue.
Biti, who is also Finance minister, was also being investigated  over the issue. Sources say the murky campaign, whose dirt has failed to stick, was far from over with more “sexual scandals” likely to be exposed ahead of polls. The issues came under the spotlight again after the alleged US$100 million CIO slush fund report.
“More scandals will be revealed in the run up to elections. The CIO has been trailing Tsvangirai, Biti, Ncube and other officials for a long time. They have much on them including sex tapes, so it will not come as a surprise if we have Pius Ncube-kind of exposures again,” said a source.
Tsvangirai, who recently married Elizabeth Macheka Guma, after the Locardia Karimatsenga fiasco, has also been linked to several other women. This week’s reports say he was paying US$1 400 a month in maintenance for his 19-month-old baby with a Bulawayo woman, Loreta Nyathi.
Biti is also reportedly under probe over US$20 million drawn from the International Monetary Fund Special Drawing Rights (SDR). The money is said to have mysteriously “disappeared” from the coffers of the troubled Interfin Bank now under curatorship. Biti has however explained how he used the SDR funds.
Last year, police probed Biti’s ministry officials for alleged corruption. One of those arrested in the ministry was Petronella Chishawa, who was later embroiled in an alleged sex scandal with Biti which was splashed on the front pages of state newspapers, which will be the main platform for discrediting MDC officials ahead of elections. However, most of these exposures have failed to work.

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