MUTARE businessman, Tendai Mangwiro, who successfully obtained an order for convicted Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo’s incarceration, is now being victimised by the police.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Last Friday, police reportedly threatened to investigate and arrest Mangwiro if he fails to explain the source of $79 000 cash seized by the law enforcement agents in 2008.
Mangwiro’s lawyer, Rungano Mahuni, confirmed the police had contacted his client and asked him to report to Mutare Central Police Station to explain the source of money, which was part of the exhibits seized and allegedly misappropriated by the police.
“What they are alleging is they want to know what he was doing in 2008 when he got the $79 000 in hard currency and whether he had a foreign currency account or not. But what they are forgetting is that possession of foreign currency was not an offence at all,” he said.
“We suspect all this is being done because of Chombo. All along, since my client’s acquittal in 2012, the police did not do anything, but now that the court has ordered Chombo’s incarceration, they are now disgruntled and showing their corrupt tendencies and trampling on my client’s rights.”
The alleged “victimisation and harassment” of the businessman, came barely two days after Chombo’s perpetual disregard of court orders earned him a 90-day imprisonment with labour for contempt of court.
Mahuni said: “My client is not going to report to any police station and is invoking his constitutional right against self-incrimination and will not say anything. Chombo is now cornered and wants to cook up investigations, he will not succeed and I will make sure my client is defended against this kind of victimisation and harassment.”
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The lawyer said he had spoken to a Superintendent Ndlovu from Mutare, who had summoned his client to the police station, and had made clear his position that his client would not supply them with any information.
“Police conceded they stole his money and that indicates there is something wrong at the police stations and it also speaks volumes about the police hierarchy. My client was charged and acquitted and now they want to investigate him for asserting his right,” he said.
Mahuni said the police were violating the law.
Chombo was convicted on Wednesday following his continuous defiance of ultimatums and court orders compelling him to pay Mangwiro $79 000 and $1,5 million, which was seized by his officers in 2012.
High Court judge, Justice Amy Tsanga issued Chombo a 14-day ultimatum to ensure he complied with the court order or risk spending 90 days in prison.
On Friday Chombo reportedly made frantic efforts to avoid incarceration by writing to Treasury asking for the release of the money, but the move did not suspend an order for his jail term, which Mangwiro’s lawyer said they were still pursuing.