Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter—
ACTING Prosecutor-General Advocate Ray Goba has directed Commissioner-General of Police Augustine Chihuri to urgently finalise the necessary paperwork and take Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo to court to answer to fraud, corruption, money laundering and obstructing the course of justice charges. Prof Moyo, his deputy Godfrey Gandawa and Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) finance director Nicholas Mapute stand accused of abusing nearly $500 000 belonging to (Zimdef).
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Gandawa and Mapute have since been placed on remand at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts, but Prof Moyo filed an application at the Constitutional Court challenging the constitutionality of his arrest.
Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo yesterday said he was not aware of any correspondence between the Acting PG and Comm-Gen Chihuri on Minister Moyo’s arrest, but The Herald has it on good record that the two communicated.
Responding to questions by Norton National Assembly yesterday, Minister Chombo denied knowledge of any correspondence in which Adv Goba directed Comm-Gen Chihuri to take action against Prof Moyo. However, on November 1 2016, the Acting PG wrote to Comm-Gen Chihuri indicating that there was a strong case against Prof Moyo and directed the police boss to finalise the criminal case.
The letter was attached to Adv Goba’s bunch of papers opposing Minister Moyo’s pending Constitutional Court challenge against his arrest.
“Accordingly, acting under the powers vested in me under Section 259 (11) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, I hereby direct you, Dr Augustine Chihuri, Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police to complete the usual criminal procedures stated above, including but not limited to recording warned and cautioned statements from each and all the alleged perpetrators mentioned herein for each and all the alleged charges jointly as they acted in concert and in common purpose to defraud, steal, launder the proceeds and corruptly to feather their own nests,” said Adv Goba.
The Acting PG said Minister Moyo should also be charged with defeating the course of justice. “In regard Jonathan Moyo, a further charge of obstruction and defeating the course of justice by virtue of his conduct which is tantamount to compounding the crimes alleged, should be separately added.
“His public conduct and utterances are ample testimony thereof,” he said. Adv Goba urged Commissioner Gen Chihuri to expeditiously work on the matter because it was of public importance.
“In accordance with the provisions of Section 259(11) aforesaid, you are required to comply with my directive and to report to me what you will have done thereupon. “As the matter is of extreme public interest, I direct that you act without delay and in any event within 48 hours of service of this directive on you and in due course submit the police crime docket for finalisation,” reads part of the letter.
Adv Goba, in the same letter, indicated that his office had carefully perused the docket and concluded that Minister Moyo and his subordinates had committed the offence.
“We have thoroughly perused the proceedings submitted to us and come to the inescapable conclusion based on available evidence that all the alleged perpetrators did commit the alleged crimes on diverse occasions over a period.
“The available evidence is of such strength that it can be said that it discloses a threshold far above the ordinary yardstick of reasonable suspicion,” he said. Adv Goba said the alleged crimes were of a very grievous nature and were premeditated.
“Although ordinarily, motive is irrelevant in criminal matters, it is clear that all the alleged perpetrators engaged in a premeditated criminal enterprise for their own personal benefit albeit financial or political.
“They did not have any right to act in the matter they did,” said Adv Goba.
However, in a bid to discredit the Acting PG, Minister Moyo filed an answering affidavit in his Constitutional Court challenge indicating that Adv Goba had a pervious criminal conviction.
“The depondent ’s handling of this matter and his tainted past in Namibia seriously puts into issue his knowledge and experience in handling such matters and in particular, the present matter,” he said.
Minister Moyo attached a judgment by the High Court of Namibia that narrates how Mr Goba was convicted of attempting to obstruct the course of justice in that foreign country.
“In this regard, it may assist the court to have a fuller appreciation of his qualifications and experience by having regard to a decision of the High Court in Namibia in case Nomber A118/2011 which touches on the fourth respondent’s conduct in a similar office in this Southern African nation,” reads the affidavit.
Minister Moyo quoted a Namibian judge in that particular matter as saying:
“Unfortunately, for the applicant, he was convicted on a charge of attempting to obstruct or defeat the course of justice. On Appeal, this conviction was confirmed by the High Court on June 29 2004. An application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court was also refused.
“In various subsequent applications, for visas, the applicant sought to downplay the offence as a traffic offence, or failed to furnish details of the offence as he was required to do.” Minister Moyo insisted that he was innocent and that Adv Goba was simply being influenced by media reports.
“The charges against me are false and I denied them vehemently with evidence when I was finally interviewed by ZACC.
“The deponent (of the opposing affidavit) confesses to reading press articles which appear in his own words to have swayed him into forming an opinion of me. He does not, as is required of a professional occupying a fundamental constitutional office, treat such reports as unsubstantiated news items and only deal with facts and evidence as I understand all lawyers are required to,” reads Minister Moyo’s answering affidavit.