BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
A HARARE court yesterday heard that Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) Commissioner-General Paradzai Zimondi facilitated the appointment of former Reserve Bank top official and convicted rapist, Munyaradzi Kereke, to supervise a poultry project run by the ZPCS.
ZPCS senior assistant commissioner Nobert Chomurenga (58), chief correctional officer Cephas Chiparausha (43) and an assistant commissioner Tonderai Mutiwaringa (56), who are facing charges of giving Kereke preferential treatment, denied the offence in their trial before magistrate Amos
The three submitted a prisons report which had details of Kereke’s appointment with his duties laid down and signed for by Zimondi.
Chomurenga, Chiparausha and Mutiwaringa, represented by Simon Chabuka, Oscar Gasva and Tinashe Rungaga are being accused of illegally engaging Humanity Earth Trust, whose founder and patron is said to be Kereke, and receiving 300 birds for a chicken-rearing project before showing preferential treatment to him.
In their defence, the ZPCS officials claimed that Zimondi was aware of the poultry project, adding that they did not get individual benefits out of it.
But ZPCS acting legal director Willie Risiro defended Zimondi, saying he was not aware of the poultry project, but Gasva submitted a prisons report signed and stamped by Zimondi, which revealed that he had recommended Kereke to be taken on board.
“Zimondi directed that Kereke would use his expertise in project planning, donor co-ordination, finance and banking to support ZPCS in its rehabilitation and that Chomurenga, deputy commissioner Chihobvu, officer commanding Chitekuteku and one madam Banda was present when the directive was given by Zimondi,” Gasva said.
The court heard that the report was copied to officers-in-charge of correctional facilities around Harare and that ZPCS benefited a dollar for every bird that came out of the project.
Chabuka then demonstrated how ZPCS went further giving preferential treatment to Kereke and made reference to complaint letters compiled by Charles Warara and Associates Legal Practitioners, which resulted in a board of enquiry being set up.
Chabuka claimed that the prison officials would allow Kereke home visits to one of his wives during weekends and even impregnated another and would not perform manual labour, but Risiro refuted the claims, saying they were not proven facts.
Allegations are that the three accused persons gave preferential treatment to Kereke in the form of allowing unscheduled visits from his relatives, enjoying extra free time compared to other prisoners and not allowing him to carry out any manual work in terms of set-out procedures.
On September 25, 2017, it is alleged Chomurenga and Chiparausha, who were acting in connivance with Mutiwaringa, in their personal capacities entered into a memorandum of understanding with Humanity Earth Trust.
Prosecutor Ephraim Zinyandu said the manner in which the contract was signed was inconsistent with laid-down ZPCS procedure and it was unknown to Zimondi.
They said between September 25, 2017 and August 2018, Humanity Earth Trust provided 3 000 birds, feed, medication and other sanitary requirements for the chicken-rearing project.
As part of the agreement, the three accused allegedly provided space and labour in the form of prisoners, but for their personal benefit.