By Desmond Chingarande
THE State’s corruption case against senior police officer, Commissioner Erasmas Makodza was left hanging in the balance yesterday after key witnesses disowned their statements, saying they were laced with false information wrongly credited to them.
Makodza is being accused of concealing a transaction of his former girlfriend Maonei Chapfudza after she got a contract to use a police farm.
The State alleged that Chapfudza was contractually obligated to remit 10% of the sales of produce, but Makodza instructed that no such payment would be made.
However, then farm manager Nobert Thabani Ncube said during the time he was at the farm, he never received any instruction from Makodza.
Ncube, who was in charge of the CID pojects at the police farm in Mvurwi, told magistrate Noel Mupeiwa at the start of the trial yesterday that he was shown the contract that had already been signed according to which all protocols were observed.
“We had a very good working relationship. I was just shown the agreement by one Sergeant Marange. The contract indicated that after the sales, we were supposed to be given 10% and that is what we were getting from the sales. I did not see any role played by the accused in the granting of the contract,” Ncube said.
“We have never seen him at the farm and also any person linking to him. The instructions the accused were giving had nothing to do with agreements but it was part of our work in general. We also kept record of remittance of the agreement.”
Ncube told prosecutors Tafara Chirambira and Tendai Shonai that he didn’t know of any romantic relationship between Makodza and Chapfudza.
While under cross-examination from Makodza’s lawyer Tapiwa Makanza of Makanza Law Chambers, Ncube was asked to read some of the facts in his alleged statement to the police and he shook his head to the amusement of the court.
Ncube, responding to the lawyers during cross-examination, disowned some of the paragraphs in his recorded statement.
“What I said in my statement is that Chapfudza remitted the 10% required of her in the contract, but the way it is written in the statement is not correct,” Ncube said, adding that Chapfudza honoured her contract as signed. He further advised the court to take his word not what was in the statement.
A second witness, Superintendent Mugove Chidhakwa — who is a former police intelligence officer in Mashonaland East — told the court that Makodza advised them of the relationship which was there, as a result of which they removed him from the committee that was looking for the right candidate to offer the contract.
“We agreed that he has some interests and had to recuse himself, we were not going by his word, but remain guided by the organisational rules with regard to engaging a business partner. We were carrying out checks and she marketed herself to the committee,” Chidhakwa said.
“Among other issues during question and answer sessions it came out that she had not brought any documents to support what she said in her marketing. As a bargaining strategy, she indicated that she rejected her partner. She promised to bring the documents and we adjourned. On a later date, we reconvened a meeting and the accused person was not part of the team.”
In a bid to salvage the case, the State submitted a statement purportedly submitted to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission implicating Makodza, but he rejected it saying the statement was not his and the signatures were forged.
This resulted in the State applying for the court to adjourn to allow it to verify the documents with the investigating officer.
Mupeiwa then remanded the matter to today.
Makodza is denying the allegations.
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