Police deny ‘Salarygate’ inaction
Police cannot “jump” into arresting Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and Premier Service Medical Aid Society bosses Mr Happison Muchechetere and Dr Cuthbert Dube respectively who are embroiled in a mega salaries saga without establishing a prima facie case against them.
Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba disclosed this yesterday while responding to a public outcry on why suspended Mr Muchechetere and Dr Dube had not been arrested.
Snr Asst Comm Charamba said police would act if a formal complaint was lodged. She said on both cases, police were waiting for the completion of audit reports and formal complaints.
Outrage over the “obscene” salaries that Mr Muchechetere and Dr Dube pocketed at ZBC and PSMAS, respectively, has engulfed the nation and many want to see them being arrested.
“Police do not just arrest to investigate but need to gather evidence that link the suspect to the commission of the offence before effecting an arrest,” she said.
“In the case of Cuthbert Dube, the Ministry of Health and Child Care is the complainant and police are still waiting for the ministry to finalise its audit report. Once the Ministry of Health, as the parent ministry, makes a formal complaint on behalf of Government, we will act on the matter.”
Added Snr Asst Comm Charamba: “The same applies to the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services which is conducting its forensic audit, which will eventually assist in compiling the necessary evidence to deal with the ZBC issue.”
The police spokesperson said even in cases where police were the complainant, an initial report had to be made first before investigations.
“Yes, we do appreciate the role of the media in informing and educating the nation but there is no way the media can be complainants in these cases. As a professional police force, we shall not be swayed by the so- called ‘court of public opinion’ into arbitrarily arresting suspects without establishing facts and the necessary evidence.”
Air Zimbabwe bosses Grace Nyaradzo Pfumbidzayi (company secretary), Innocent Mavhunga (suspended chief executive) and his predecessor Peter Chikumba were the first casualties of the corruption that is being exposed in most parastatals.
The trio is accused of defrauding the national airliner of more than US$11 million in an insurance scam. Turning to reports that MDC-T secretary-general Mr Tendai Biti and the party’s deputy treasurer, Mr Elton Mangoma, were assaulted in violent scenes that rocked Harvest House on Saturday, Snr Asst Comm Charamba said the victims were yet to report their cases to the police.
“The ZRP does not condone violence,” she said. “These hooligans have always perpetrated violence before and now they have come out in the open attacking each other in a gloomy face of intra-party violence. In the past as police, we have always stated that the MDC-T are perpetrators of violence and the recent incident confirms their hooliganism.