THREE aspiring Zanu PF legislators have been forced to defend themselves after their questionable past was exposed ahead of tomorrow’s ruling party primary elections.
Mazowe North candidate, Campion Mugweni is crying foul and accusing his opponents of mudslinging, following revelations that he was once convicted of tax evasion in the United States.
Mugweni yesterday admitted that he indeed served time in a US correctional facility but was now a reformed man.
“This happened 12 years ago and I have since served my time and returned home eight years ago. It is unfortunate that this past is now being used to smear campaign me now when in 2016 I stood for the same post, but lost to the incumbent — (Martin Dinha),” Mugweni said.
“Because now I have gained ground, some people want to run with this, it is unfortunate. The people of Mazowe know me better and appreciate my works. Let us go to the primary polls without mudslinging of each other and allow Zanu PF structures to decide who is a better person than the other, based on our ability to transform their livelihood and bring the development that Zimbabwe need.”
He added: “If you look at the charges I faced, they are not an offence in Zimbabwe generally. But, nevertheless, I did my time; I am not a fugitive from justice, but a responsible person. No smear campaign will overshadow the good thing I have done for the Mazowe people.”
Mugweni said on both occasions, State security agents cleared him to contest the polls.
“I have been cleared by all security agents because these issues are circumstantial. I have a police clearance,” he said before producing the same.
Mugweni was reportedly sentenced to 66 months in jail for tax-related fraud in the US and ordered to pay $1,9 million in restitution in 2008. He was reportedly deported to Zimbabwe after serving his five and half years in prison. This means he could have been deported in or around 2013.
“I will never run away from my unfortunate past, but I have also contributed immensely to the well-being of the people of Mazowe something which speaks for itself,” he said.
Founding ENG Capital Group director, Gilbert Muponda said he could not be classified as a criminal because he was never convicted of any crime by the courts.
Muponda and co-director Nyasha Watyoka were arrested in 2003 after ENG Capital collapsed and failed to pay hundreds of creditors.
But the businessman said he was cleared by authorities including the High Court, Interpol, ZRP and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
“I was wrongfully accused more than a decade ago. Only the Court can declare criminals not (Temba) Mliswa or the Financial Gazette,” he said on his Facebook page.
“The RBZ has even granted me a fresh Micro Finance Institute licence after passing all vetting. The government indicated it was regrettable how entrepreneurs were ill-treated and criminalised at that time.”
Another aspiring Zanu PF candidate, Glorianne Francis, popularly known as Glo Diamond, who is eyeing the Harare Central parliamentary seat was accused by Nigerian-based media personality, Vimbai Mutinhiri of having blood on her hands and lacking merit to lead the people
“A lady who fled the scene of the accident where my sister died and then dodged every opportunity to answer questions refusing to tell us what transpired wants to be an MP?” tweeted Mutinhiri.
Mutinhiri said Francis had failed to inform her family what really transpired when her sister, Belinda died in a car crash in 2016 as the two were in the same vehicle.
But Francis said all the information on the accident was with the police station and “at all the hospitals.”
“I was told by the police how I was taken to the hospital. I have never survived any other accident in Zimbabwe which again am falsely accused of. Even should that have been true, that would only make me a victim rather than a witch,” Francis said in a social media post.