SECURITY has been tightened at the office of the Deposit Protection Corporation (DPC) following threats made against the institution’s chief executive John Chikura and his staff.
By Kudzai Kuwaza
According to a letter written by Fawcett Security area manager for town, Graniteside and Msasa, one D Bhunu, to the DPC human resources and administration manager O Ameer dated September 25 2017, which was seen by the Zimbabwe Independent, a suspicious visitor who identified himself as Robert Chikura came to the DPC office intending to see Chikura without an appointment.
“Following a panic alarm signal received by our control room operator at 13:06 hours, our reaction attended at 13:13 hours and made a report to the effect that they arrested a suspicious visitor identified as Robert Chikura intending to see the chief executive officer without appointment,” Bhunu wrote.
“The writer also attended at 13:59 hours and met Ms S Chirinda as well as Mr Chirozva who both confirmed the incident and advised that the suspect was the same man who came to your premises a year ago on 11 August 2016 and disappeared after making threats of violence.”
He revealed that on the day at approximately 1pm the suspect allegedly identified himself as Robert Chikura claiming to be related to the DPC boss was allowed entry. He was directed to the reception by a security guard.
Bhunu said while at reception, the suspect was advised that Chikura was out of the office, but insisted on seeing him before threatening members of staff.
“Searches were conducted by both our reaction crew as well as the police and it was established that the suspect was not in possession of any dangerous object or weapon as was suspected by staff members during the previous incident,” Bhunu said.
He revealed that the suspect had been arrested and had appeared in court but refused to give police his identification particulars. It was only established by court witnesses during court proceedings that his real identity is Onward Matamba.
The incident has resulted in Fawcett making recommendations to tighten security at DPC.
This includes the careful vetting of visitors who will be made to leave their national identification cards, passport or driver’s licence at the main entrance and to collect particulars upon exiting the premises, the entry of such particulars be entered by the security guard in the gate logbook and all visitors to sign upon collecting their particulars and that the turnstile gates remain locked at all times and are only opened when visitors comply with the entry instructions.
The letter by Fawcett follows a letter written by Chikura to then Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa on security concerns at the DPC.
“The liquidation and judicial management aspects of the mandate are exposing DPC staff to security threats,” Chikura wrote in a letter dated August 17 2016. “These aspects have sensitive matters involving sensitive high-profile cases who either owe or are owed by closed banks.”
In the letter, Chikura revealed that a strange character purporting to be his relative came and asked to see him on August 11 2016.
“This was about 11am, he left and came back again around 2pm. Upon being informed that the CEO was not available he fumed and shouted obscenities,” Chikura wrote to Chinamasa. “The next day when CCTV images of the man were viewed, they show the man is not known to the CEO and he was armed. DPC has made a police report and submitted the images.
Police advises that if he comes again they must be called to come and arrest him and establish his motives.”
Chikura said the threats are making it difficult for the corporation to carry out its mandate and they had considered it “prudent” to inform government as shareholders.
On September 14 2016, Chinamasa notified the then home affairs minister Ignatius Chombo of Chikura’s concerns, by way of attaching his letter. Chinamasa also notified police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri of Chikura’s letter on September 23 2016.
When contacted over the issue, Chikura declined to comment, saying the matter is being handled by the relevant authorities.