Chief Court Reporter
FORMER police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri has resumed control over some of the properties he acquired during his 25 years at the helm of the police force, but other assets and those of his companies fingered in possible corrupt business deals with the police force remain under the unexplained wealth orders.
All his known Zimbabwean assets were placed under management in 2020, while he was required to explain his link with the companies and properties which the State listed for potential forfeiture.
Chihuri is being accused of side-tracking US$32 million of public funds into family companies and buying properties during his tenure at the helm of the police force.
In a judgment delivered yesterday, High Court judge Justice Pisirayi Kwenda varied two unexplained wealth orders previously granted to the State forcing Chihuri to explain his wealth, links and interest in the swathe of companies, and that he and his family acquired large property holdings and other assets.
The unexplained wealth order granted on 11 June 2020 had four paragraphs deleted from the list and that granted a week later on 18 June 2020 had two paragraphs removed.
The judge, however, granted the State’s counter application involving certain companies that were in business deals with the police force.
The properties removed from the unexplained wealth orders include five vehicles, farm equipment for his two farms in Chinhoyi and Shamva and several houses including a magnificent mansion in Gletwyn comprising 16 bedrooms all en-suite, seven lounges, nine garages, a helipad and a fishing dam all sitting on a 12ha of land valued at US$7 million.
During the hearing of the matter, Justice Kwenda was called to consider the validity of the unexplained wealth orders served on Chihuri.
It was the State’s argument that Chihuri abused his public power as head of the police to prejudice the State of large sums in public funds channelled to five companies linked to his family and relatives.
The five companies received US$32 million to supply certain goods and material to the police.
The State is seeking to freeze Chihuri’s companies and the properties, pending the final outcome of possible criminal investigations and civil suits.
Last year, the State was granted orders that freeze company and property assets and was now seeking explanation of the sale of the additional properties.
The order, which the State obtained at the High Court, placed known family property in Zimbabwe under the management of the Asset Management Unit of the National Prosecuting Authority.
This meant the property and companies could not be sold without permission of the courts.
Chihuri was represented by lawyer Addington Chinake, while the State was represented by chief law officer and head of assets forfeiture unit Mr Chris Mutangadura.