Geraldine Zaranyika Herald Reporter
The trial of former president Robert Mugabe’s son-in-law Simba Chikore, who is accused of kidnapping his employee — Bertha Zakeyo — at Zimbabwe Airways offices, continued yesterday with the investigating officer, Mr Ben Justin, complaining that he was facing challenges in serving a witness with papers to come and testify.
Mr Justin told the court that he had served other witnesses in this matter except for Ms Phillipa Phillips, who is the fourth witness, whom he said was elusive.
“I served her for court on February 13 for trial, through her receptionist who informed me that Phillips was unable to attend court, and an issue of conflict was informed to me that Chikore was Phillips’ client,” he said.
He stated that he got instructions to subpoena Ms Phillips at her house, but to no avail as he failed to locate her.
He said he even called Ms Phillips and she said she was in South Africa on a business trip.
Prosecutor Mr Gwinyai Shumba called third witness, Alwyn Tichaona Tigere, who is a police officer who attended the scene. The court heard that Tigere and Constable Mpona received an instruction from their superiors to go to Zimbabwe Airways offices were there was suspected violence taking place.
On arrival, they met Nelson Zimunya, the head of security, who escorted them to Chikore’s office.
“Chikore told us that he had fired an employee called Bertha Zakeyo and wanted the police to provide security during the handover-takeover of company property.
“He advised us that there was a dispute between employer and employee because Zakeyo was refusing to hand over a cellphone which she specified that she was going to hand over to the police since it had vital information.’’
The pair later on we went to Zakeyo’s office. “She told us that she had been fired by Chikore and with immediate effect she was to hand over company property.
Zakeyo’s lawyer Ms Phillips came.
Later they decided to leave the premises and indicated that they were going through Highlands Police Station to file a case of unlawful detention.
The matter was postponed to March 27 after the State indicated that they wanted to engage their superiors on the way forward and also to secure the attendance of Phillips at the court.