ZIMBABWE Red Cross Society (ZRCS) acting secretary-general Elias Hwenga yesterday appeared before a Harare magistrate facing charges of obstructing or defeating the course of justice after he allegedly fired subordinates who had exposed corruption within the organisation to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc).
BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
The State, represented by prosecutor Ephraim Zinyandu, alleges that sometime in May 2020, some ZRCS employees received anonymous information through their emails which allegedly unearthed rampant corruption and they forwarded it to Zacc.
Following the submission of that information, Zacc launched a probe on three senior officials among them ZRCS board president Edson Mlambo, secretary-general Maxwell Phiri and Midlands provincial chairperson Vutete Mazorodze Hapanyengwi who are all facing fraud charges at the courts.
The complainants in the case, Davison Mutikori, Norman Takawira, Bernard Mupandira, Morris Machawira who are former ZRCS managers and Fidelis Muyedziwa, were fired following their participation in interviews during the Zacc probe, which led to the arrest of the three bosses.
After they were arrested, Mlambo and Phiri, who is still at large, then appointed Hwenga as the acting secretary-general who then signed letters which terminated the contracts of the four managers.
The complainants were served with suspension notices, called for a hearing, but the charges were later withdrawn before they responded to the allegations and were fired instead.
According to the State, almost every employee who was interviewed by Zacc during investigations on the bosses was fired as their superiors suspected that they had leaked information which resulted in them being investigated.
The State also alleges that the tip off to Zacc was written by one or more employees at ZRCS since it contained internal information which was only known to employees.
Hwenga, who is being represented by Admire Rubaya, applied for bail, but the State opposed, arguing that he was likely to tamper with evidence which was under his custody as the police had not yet retrieved the documents from him.
The State also argued that he was likely to interfere with the witnesses who are his former subordinates as he had already blocked their emails.
Hwenga was not asked to plead when he appeared before magistrate Ngoni Nduna.