BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
A BOGUS Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission official appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court yesterday facing charges of extorting US$10 000 from the son of flamboyant businessman Philip Chiyangwa, Bruce, after he was caught in illegal gold dealings.
Onisimo Maruke (45), who was represented by Lucky Dube, was not asked to plead when he appeared before magistrate Francis Mapfumo, who remanded him in custody to today for bail ruling.
It is the State’s case that on April 29 this year, Bruce was at the Meikles Hotel meeting with his friends when Maruke approached him.
The State says Maruke introduced himself as an officer of the specialised unit known as National Anti-Corruption of Zimbabwe and invited the complainant outside the lounge.
Chiyangwa agreed before Maruke produced his identity card written National Anti-Corruption of Zimbabwe.
Maruke then reportedly informed Chiyangwa that he was under arrest for illegally dealing in gold.
Maruke escorted Chiyangwa outside the hotel complex, where he was joined by an accomplice who is still at large.
While outside, Maruke searched Chiyangwa and recovered 420 grammes of gold from the pocket and informed him that he was taking him to their offices.
It is alleged the gang then demanded US$10 000 to release him, but Chiyangwa offered them US$1000.
The gang refused, saying it was too little. The court heard that Chiyangwa then took them to Sports Diner, where he was given US$4 000 by one Luther Jones, which he handed over to the accused person.
The State further avers that after Maruke and his accomplice had left, Chiyangwa made inquiries about the existence of National Anti-Corruption of Zimbabwe and realised that the accused persons were bogus officers and he made a police report.
Investigations were carried out by the police and Maruke was lured to come to collect the US$6 000 balance from Chiyangwa, leading to his arrest.
He was searched and a fake identity card written National Anti-Corruption of Zimbabwe was recovered from his wallet.
Maruke was allegedly interviewed and he implicated his accomplice as George Chingara, who is still at large.