The High Court has deferred to next month, the case in which the State is seeking explanation from former police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri on the sale of five properties that were part of the family’s large property portfolio.
Chihuri is being accused of side-tracking US$32 million of public funds into family companies and buying properties during the 25 years he was at the helm of the police force.
He is alleged to have sold five properties between 2017 and 2018, following his unceremonious departure from the police’s apex office.
The matter, which had been slated for hearing yesterday, was deferred during a case management meeting held before Justice Pisirayi Kwenda in his chambers.
Since Chihuri is contesting court orders allowing the State to forfeit his properties, Justice Kwenda proposed to have the matters consolidated into a single case for determination.
Both parties’ lawyers, Mr Chris Mutangadura appearing for the State and Mr Addington Chinake, acting for Chihuri, agreed with the judge’s suggestion and by consent of both parties the matter was moved to February 9.
The State seeks to freeze Chihuri’s companies and the properties, which his family acquired during his 25 years at the helm of the police force, pending the final outcome of possible criminal investigations and civil suits.
And in its fresh application that State wants Chihuri to explain how the properties were sold.
In the application counteracting Chihuri’s bid to set aside two orders issued against him, Prosecutor-General Mr Kumbirai Hodzi argues that a check with the Deeds Office showed the rushed disposal of assets by the Chihuri family.
The order, which the National Prosecuting Authority obtained at the High Court two years ago, encumbered Chihuri and the family’s various properties which were simultaneously placed under the management of the Asset Management Unit.
This means the properties cannot be sold without permission of the courts. The anti-corruption drive was enhanced through the enactment into law of the unexplained wealth regulations.
The orders were enacted into law through insertion of a new Chapter III A into the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act of 2013, with the High Court now empowered to make orders designed to elicit explanations from persons who exhibit possession of great wealth without having apparent lawful means of obtaining such wealth.