Farai Kuvirimirwa Herald Reporter
Former United States Congressman for Chicago Melvin Jay Reynolds, who came into Zimbabwe last year purporting to be a middleman for foreign investors in the tourism industry, was yesterday arrested for violating immigration laws and possessing pornographic material. He had also accumulated bills worth US$24 500 at two hotels which he was yet to pay.
Reynolds, who was convicted on 12 counts of statutory rape, obstruction of justice and solicitation of child pornography before he resigned from his seat in the USA was picked up by police detectives and immigration officials at Bronte Garden Hotel.
Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba had said police officers on the ground did not arrest someone like him.
Assistant Regional Immigration Officer Francis Mabika differed and confirmed the incident, saying he will avail more information surrounding the issue today.
“He has been picked up. Investigations are still underway and revealing information will jeopardise investigations that are underway,” he said.
According to his former aide identified as Sunny, Reynolds was in possession of pornographic material he shot on different occasions while in the company of a model (name supplied) and several girls in his hotel rooms.
“His travel documents were not up to date and he used to bring beautiful women at different times. He employed five of us including a personal assistant and a driver.
“He currently has unpaid hotel bills of more than US$24 500 accrued at two local hotels,” he said.
Another closely placed source said Reynolds shot more than 100 pornographic videos and a further 2 000 nude pictures while he was in the company of at least 10 women including famous models.
“Reynolds entered Zimbabwe via Plumtree Border Post on November 13, where he was given a 14 day visa. The visa was later renewed and expired again on December 10 and he has been in the country illegally all along.
“He conducted the acts in the hotel rooms when he was guarded by four personal aides that were on his payroll,” he said.
When The Herald arrived at the hotel at around 1pm, Reynolds was being escorted to a vehicle and was demanding his mobile phone and the laptop from the officials.
“It’s the way it is and I have been in this country 17 times where I have done a lot of work for the people including the fight against sanctions.
“I misplaced my passport but I found it implying that I am not certain if I breached immigration laws against this country.
“I am sure I will find out about that. They denied me my passport so that I can contact the United States Embassy which is a violation of international laws,” said Reynolds.
Reynolds said he was not expecting the treatment after bringing several investors in the country.
He recently hogged the limelight after he was connected to the construction of the US$145 million five-star Hilton Hotel and office complex along Samora Machel Avenue in Eastlea which was scheduled to begin in April this year.
The project was expected to be completed in late 2016.
He toured the construction site back then in the company of Government ministers Walter Mzembi, Webster Shamu and Ignatius Chombo, and businessman Mr Farai Jere.
According to American newspapers, Reynolds resigned from a Congress post he held for two years in 1995, in his homeland after he was convicted of statutory rape, bank fraud, obstruction of justice and having sex with a 16-year-old campaign volunteer.
He was sentenced to five years in prison before he was further given an additional sentence of 78 months in federal prison for 15 unrelated counts of bank fraud and lying to investigators.
He served all of his first sentence, and served 42 months in prison for the later charges before former US president Bill Clinton commuted the sentence for bank fraud in 2001.
Reynolds was released from prison and served the remaining time in a halfway house and was hired by Jesse Jackson’’s Rainbow/Push Coalition to decrease the number of young blacks going to prison.
Halfway houses are meant for reintegration of persons who have been recently released from jail.