CAPS Holdings’ major shareholder Fred Mtandah says he has uncovered a plot to eliminate him by unnamed government officials interested in taking over the pharmaceutical company.
Mtandah, who also owns FCA Motors and is a local franchise holder of Western Union, is former senior Zipra commander and aide to the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo.
He was recently taken to court by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) over a $26 million fraud case involving CAPS.
Mtandah yesterday said a man who claimed to be an Interpol investigator approached him recently claiming he had been seconded by the police to investigate his case.
He said the man later claimed he had been sent to eliminate him, but the plan failed when a “hired assassin” allegedly failed to do the job.
The businessman said the man told him they had been promised money if they eliminated him, but he developed cold feet because he did “not want to shed innocent blood”.
Mtandah said the alleged hitmen said they were promised up to $2 million “in diamonds money” by people who “want to take over CAPS”.
He said he reported the matter to the police who are investigating.
“My concern is that they want to focus on the corrupt element whom they say wanted to extort money from me not the threat to my life,” he said.
Strenuous efforts to get a comment from Harare Police spokesperson James Sabau were fruitless last night as he repeatedly said he needed to verify the details.
Meanwhile, Mtandah’s lawyer, Jonathan Samukange, continued his battle to stop the ACC from seizing the businessman’s passport at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts yesterday.
Mtandah was on Wednesday summoned to appear before a Harare magistrate to defend the State’s intention to seize his passport which it had temporarily released to him.
Mtandah and his alleged accomplice Justice Majaka were arrested last month. Mtandah was released on $1 000 bail while Majaka was granted $500 bail.
As part of his bail conditions, Mtandah was ordered to surrender his passport and two weeks ago, he applied for its temporary release.The application was not opposed by the State.
The court ordered the release of Mtandah’s passport from December 17 to January 12, 2012 and he was granted his travel document by the clerk of court.
But in a sudden turn of events, the State made a U-turn on December 20 and advised Mtandah’s lawyers to return the passport.
Samkange grilled the ACC’s chief legal officer, Monica Chizunza, asking her to explain why her office was determined to have Mtandah’s passport returned.
Samukange left the court in stitches when he said to Chizunza: “One of your officers, a Mr Madiye, went on to praise the accused for being an ex-combatant who had fought to liberate him.
“He also said Mtandah would not escape since he was a businessman with a lot of wealth. In fact, he spoke as if he was his lawyer and was better than me.”
Samukange said Mtandah’s arrest was an abuse of office by ACC officers who arrested him with the intention of investigating instead of vice versa.
Chizunza was adamant Mtandah’s arrest was based on reasonable suspicion that he committed the alleged fraud, the reason why the ACC was opposed to the temporary release of his passport.
She told provincial magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini regardless of the fact that Mtandah’s passport was released by consent of the Attorney-General’s Office, the ACC still insisted it was erroneously released.
She said ACC investigating officers were opposed to the release of the passport since they feared Mtandah would interfere with extra-territorial investigations being carried out by the State.
Samukange argued Chizunza was not being honest with the court since officers from the ACC had previously consented to the release of the passport in the presence of area public prosecutor Jonathan Murombedzi.