Gomwe trial date set
Fungai Lupande Court Reporter
The trial of former Zanu-PF Harare provincial youth chairman Godwin Gomwe and seven others accused of extorting over $46 000 from eight housing co-operatives in Glen Norah using the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe’s name was yesterday set for July 30.
Gomwe alias Mambo (34), Muchineripi Mupindu alias Ginya (36), Fidelis Ndaradza alias Brigadier (32), Haruwandi Munyawiri alias Baya (46), Hamphrey Madenyika (29), Josephine Hadziindi (59), Norah Toronga (38) and Moses Handiseni are facing three counts of extortion.
They appeared before Harare magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe and are on $500 bail each.
The group reportedly told officials from housing co-operatives that the land they wanted to build on belonged to the First Lady before demanding bribes to “authorise” development.
Prosecutor Mrs Idah Mateke-Maromo alleged that on February 11, housing co-operatives namely NRZ, Mudadirwa Zvobgo, Tenzi Tinzwei, Spring Field, Archgrace, Palmar Vision, Westgin, First Avenue, Green Image and Ingoni, all registered under the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises, were allocated 300 residential stands by the City of Harare.
Gomwe allegedly mobilised 30 youths and proceeded to the construction site and informed them that the land once belonged to the late Amai Sally Mugabe.
Gomwe added that the land was owned by Amai Grace Mugabe before he was chased away. On May 10, Gomwe and his accomplices went back to the site ordering them to leave.
He insisted that the land belonged to the First Lady.
A fracas ensued, prompting the complainants to approach the High Court for a provisional order authorising them to develop the land.
Gomwe allegedly mobilised 80 more youths and forcibly removed the complainants from the site.
They demanded four stands or $20 000. However Archgrace Housing Co-operative was not included because its members were police officers.
Operations were stopped after complainants failed to raise the money.
This did not go down well with Godfrey Chivasa, the chairperson of Perfect Hope Housing Co-operative because he had already given the suspects cash and 19 stands as kickbacks.
The suspects were given another $25 000. The complainants were ordered to affiliate to an unregistered consortium named Dr Amai Grace Mugabe to avert further trouble.
Each co-operative was to pay $120 as joining fee and was issued with receipts inscribed Amai Dr Grace Mugabe Housing Consortium.
Handiseni stopped operations again saying Gomwe had not benefited from the $25 000 they had paid.
The complainants offered $5 000, which Gomwe said was not enough for a senior official like him and demanded $10 000 more.
The money was allegedly handed over to one Kuda, who is said to be the president of the Zimbabwe Council of Students Union (ZICOSU) who later handed it over to Gomwe.