PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe ordered Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo to hand himself over to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) over allegations of abusing US$430 000 belonging to the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund, charges the minister is challenging as the case takes a new twist.
By Kudzai Kuwaza/Taurai Mangudhla
Moyo immediately reacted to his Wednesday arrest by taking his case to the highest court in the land, the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe (CCZ).
Under case number CCZ73/16, Moyo cites the arresting officer Sergeant Munyaradzi Chacha as the first respondent, Zacc as the second respondent, the Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police as the third respondent and the Prosecutor-General (PG), whose office is temporarily held by Ray Goba, as the fourth respondent.
Moyo is represented by lawyer Terence Hussein of Hussein Ranchhod & Co.
The allegations against Moyo and his deputy Godfrey Gandawa came to the fore when the anti-corruption body attempted to arrest the minister over the allegations when he was attending a Zanu PF politiburo meeting on October 5. Mugabe stopped the Zacc officers from arresting Moyo.
Gandawa was yesterday questioned by Zacc over the allegations and is expected to appear in court today.
Sources said Moyo on Tuesday had sought a meeting with Mugabe, who gave him audience. Before the meeting with the president, Moyo met with Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko and Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
Moyo’s meeting with Mugabe was also attended by Mphoko, sources revealed.
“Mugabe told Moyo to go and present himself to Zacc,” a source said. “Moyo was told to answer to the allegations before the courts and that, if he was not guilty, the courts would clear him.”
At an earlier high-level meeting on Tuesday, Mugabe had pointed out that those facing corruption allegations needed to be tried by the courts. Moyo on Wednesday handed himself over to Zacc where he was questioned for several hours before being released into the custody of his lawyer.
The Higher Education minister, through his lawyers, questioned the constitutionality of his arrest by Zacc and the role played by the police in the arrest as his case takes a new twist.
“The second respondent (Zacc) does not in terms of the constitution or the law have the power to arrest and detain suspects; the fourth respondent (Prosecutor-General) does not in terms of the constitution or any other law have the power to order the third respondent (Commissioner-General of Police) to arrest an individual,” Moyo argued as he also sought to stop his appearance in court today, describing it as an illegality.
“The first respondent (Sergeant Chacha) could not at the same time act on behalf of the second respondent and the third respondent; the applicant’s rights in terms of Sections 49, 50 and 70 of the constitution have been violated by the first, second and fourth respondents,” he said.
He also argued that Chacha could not be part of Zacc and the police at the same time while Goba had no power to order his arrest.
He said he was told on Wednesday that the acting PG had instructed Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri to arrest him after, which he got a visit from Silas Pondo, who is both Zacc’s acting secretary and a senior assistant commissioner of police, inviting him to their offices for an interview. Moyo said his security and ministerial aides were dismissed by a panel led by Zacc investigator, Lovemore Finde.
Finde then ordered Hussein to leave the room, which the legal practitioner objected to. Hussein was later allowed to stay on the grounds he did not ask any questions or make any submissions.
“The ‘interview’ lasted from 3pm to about 7.30 pm. The ‘interview’ was filmed. However, no warning and caution was given that this recording would be for the purposes of a criminal trial,” Moyo argued.
The minister tried to recall the investigator’s remarks after the meeting, which were to the effect that Zacc had carried out an investigation for four months, which basically found Moyo guilty of abuse of office before handing him over to Chacha.
Chacha then read a copy of a warned and cautioned statement which, according to Moyo, contained about five charges.
“Regrettably, I do not have a copy of the warned and cautioned statement as they refused to let me have this, indicating to my lawyers that we were not entitled to it and we would see it in court,” Moyo said.
The indemnity which Moyo got prior to his release into the custody of his lawyer showed he was being charged with criminal abuse of duty as a public officer, fraud, money laundering and defeating or obstructing the course of justice.