BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
FORMER State House principal director Douglas Tapfuma has implicated Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Ray Ndhlukula (pictured) in the case in which he is accused of importing his personal vehicles in the name of the Office of President.
Tapfuma’s lawyer Brighton Pabwe yesterday told regional magistrate Estere Chivasa that Ndhlukula should be regarded as an accomplice and not a witness as all the documents implicating his client were signed by him.
While being cross-examined by Pabwe, Ndhlukula, a top aide in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office said he exercised caution when he signed for the duty-free certificates as he believed that Tapfuma was honest as required by his office.
“I have been working for the President’s Office for the past 37 years and my professionalism is not questionable. When I received those documents with requests for a duty-free certificate, I had to trust him as his office of principal director requires honesty,” Ndhlukula said.
Ndhlukula said in his 17 years at the Office of the President and Cabinet, they did not import vehicles such as Honda Fit for use at State House. He said on this occasion he did not know if the vehicles requested would be used at State House but had to believe Tapfuma.
“When you signed the documents, you knew who the importer was and you are also complicity in the matter. You are supposed to be in the dock. For the past 17 years, you should have known that personal vehicles are not given duty-free certificates as with the case for Tapfuma,” Pabwe said.
But Ndhlukula said Tapfuma misrepresented to him and said if he knew they were personal vehicles he could not have signed for duty-free certificates.
Ndhlukula said had he been abusing his position as Deputy Chief Secretary, he could have imported over 200 personal vehicles using duty-free certificates.
Allegations are that in April 2018, Tapfuma facilitated the clearing of his two personal vehicles at Beitbridge using report order forms as if they were government vehicles.
The vehicles were handed over to Vongaishe Mupereri who at that time was MP for Mbizo.
Clement Chimbari appeared for the State.
The matter continues today.