Two Zanu PF supporters have been arraigned before the Harare Magistrates’ Court on charges of extorting $500 from a business venture.
BY SILENCE CHARUMBIRA
Magistrate Batanai Madzingira last Monday remanded the duo out of custody to November 18 for continuation of trail.
The State, led by Devoted Gwashavanhu Nyagano, alleged that on June 27 this year, Blessing Ziyera (37) and Francis Mashazhike (42) teamed up with youths from Kambuzuma and approached Precious Kenus Makaudze Gono at a Warren Hills burrow pit and ordered him to stop operations.
The two allegedly connived to demand money under the guise of Constituency Development Fund and threatened to chase the complainant and his partners from the burrow pit if they failed to meet their demands.
Gono, who is partner with Regina Rufaro Jaravaza, was then forced to stop excavation work and cease all operations.
The two accused told him they were working with very senior government officials.
On the same day, Jaravaza then paid the duo $238 and Gono resumed operations on June 29.
On the same day, the accused then demanded more money in respect of loads of gravel that were being taken from the burrow pit.
They again threatened to forcibly remove Gono and his partner from the operation if they failed to get the money.
Gono then pleaded to pay the requested money at a later date upon receiving his payment from his clients on July 1.
He then went on to report the matter to the police and a trap was set by Jaravaza and one Gibson Muzenda.
The court heard that at around 1pm on the day, the duo arrived at the borrow pit and were referred to Jaravaza, who was in a car, while police officers were in another car.
She gave them $500 and was given a receipt.
In their defence, the duo said on the day in question, they had gone to Gracelands Housing Co-operative to attend a meeting.
They alleged that they were then sent by Kubatana Kwevana Housing Co-operative chairman, only identified as Dhunda, to go to the burrow bit.
Upon arrival, they were told the person they wanted to see was in the car and Jaravaza then started shouting at them that they had delayed her, upon which she demanded a receipt.
As they were about to disembark from her car, they realised that the doors had been locked and they were arrested.