On 2 November 2016, I was informed that the Acting Prosecutor General had written to the CommissionerGeneral of Police to arrest me. I will later, in my complaint as to the violation of my rights, elaborate further on this issue.
It was not long after receiving this information that I received a visit from a Mr. Silas Pondo, the Acting Secretary for ZACC and Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police, inviting me to their offices for an “interview”. At approximately 1500hrs, I in the company of my legal practitioner, Mr. Terence Hussein and my ministerial aides and security, attended their offices at Mount Pleasant Business Park, Norfolk Road, Harare.
After being made to wait for some 15 minutes, we were led into a board room wherein we were introduced to a panel. The ones I can remember were a Mrs. Farai MashonganyikaChinyani, who is a Commissioner; Mr Silas Pando who is the Secretary; Mr. Lovemore Finde a ZACC investigator, Mr Alex Masiye ZACC Chief Investigations Officer, and a Sergeant Munyaradzi Chacha. There were two plainclothed gentlemen; one was introduced as Detective Sergeant Machinya and the other was introduced as a ZRP detail. Also in attendance was ZACC’s legal officer.
The meeting began on a tense note as the investigator, Mr. Finde supported by Mrs. Chinyani, indicated that my ministerial security aides, whom I am required to be with on official duties, were to leave the room. I protested this but eventually relented for the sake of progress. Thereafter, the investigator again supported by the secretariat and the Commissioner, made the astounding demand that my legal practitioner, Mr Terence Hussein should leave as this was just an interview.
Mr. Hussein strongly protested pointing out his obligations and my rights in terms of the Constitution. Commissioner Chinyani then indicated that my lawyer could remain on condition he did not ask any questions or make any submissions. The “interview” lasted from 3 p.m. to about 7.30 p.m. The “interview” was filmed. However, no warning and caution was given that this recording would be for the purposes of a criminal trial.
The interviewer was Mr Finde, who was reading from a set of prepared questions, ticking them off as he completed them. Mrs Chinyani supported by the legal officer, repeatedly interjected when I was giving responses in a very abrasive and confrontational manner, that I should stick to the question and stay away from giving detailed responses. My legal practitioner objected to this, specifically asking her if she wanted me to give the answers she particularly wanted to hear. What I need to point out here is that the first respondent Sergeant Chacha did not raise a single question, nor did it appear that he prepared the list of questions. At all material times, he gave the impression that he was simply there as a recorder. After the lengthy “interview”, Mr Finde concluded with the remarks, which I have, from memory, try to quote: “Professor Moyo,now we wish to advise you that we have been carrying out an investigation for four months and in fact, had already concluded that you had committed the crime of abuse of office. We had just called you in to hear what you had to say. I now hand over to my colleague,Sergeant Chacha.
These were not the opening remarks prior to the “interview”. In fact, they had tried to exclude my legal practitioner on the basis that this was just that. The necessary implication being that it was not a formal hearing to ascertain whether criminal conduct had been perpetrated. Sergeant Chacha then went on to read a Warned and Cautioned statement, which contained about five charges. Regrettably, I do not have a copy of the Warned and Cautioned Statement as they refused to let me have this, indicating to my lawyers that we were not entitled to it and we would see it in court.
Upon conclusion, Sergeant Chacha asked for my response and my lawyer expressed his displeasure in the unlawful way this “interview” had been conducted. He asked Sergeant Chacha that if he was the investigating officer, when exactly had he fanned a “reasonable suspicion”. My lawyer pointed out, throughout the interview I had indicated that I had documents, vouchers and procedural guidelines that supported the actions they were investigating and that I had not brought them with me. They had agreed that I would supply them later. How, then could he have formed a reasonable suspicion of the commission of a crime without looking at these? Commissioner Chinana and the legal officer chipped in that this was not a question to be asked at this stage and I should do so when I got to court.
We were then joined, at the request of Mr. Hussein, by Advocate Lewis Riri who is my counsel and on advice, prepared a brief response denying the charges. Whilst we were in the process of doing this, Sergeant Chacha then infom1ed Mr. Hussein that he had made a “few correct ions” to the Warned and Cautioned Statement, but they were not major. It turned out that this was in fact, an additional charge which accused me of obstructing the course of justice in that I “frustrated” my arrest by ZACC.
The charge also highlighted that I similarly frustrated it by responding in the press to allegations against me. This, although ZACC does not have arresting powers. The intention of ZACC was crystal clear. The wanted to detain me until I was brought to court on these incomplete investigations. After discussion with my lawyers, Sergeant Chacha once again read out what he called an Indemnity of Release of an Accused Person. In the said Indemnity, they now indicated that I was being charged with criminal abuse of duty as a public officer, fraud, money laundering and defeating or obstructing the course of justice. What is interesting from the document is that Sergeant Chacha describes himself as: “I Sergeant Chacha of the Zimbabwe Republic Police on secondment to Zimbabwe AntiCorruption Commission…” He then in the document orders me to: “on the 4th of November 2016 to appear at Zimbabwe AntiCorruption Offices…at 0800hrs to facilitate your appearance at the Harare Magistrates Court, failure of which you will be arrested and detained” As if things could not get any worse, as a parting shot, Mr.
Pondo then advised that I was free to go, but I was required to make sure that the following ministerial staff members appeared before ZACC on the morning of 3 November 2016: My personal assistant, Mrs. Mukabeta Permanent Secretary, Dr. Mapuranga Mr. Shepherd Honzeri, my ministerial aide Frederick Mandizvidza, CEO ZIMDEF Mr. Mapute, Chief Accountant, ZIMDEF Engineer Ganda, Fmr Director for Research Development and Innovation in the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education currently studying in the Peoples’ Republic of China. My lawyers enquired why, and Mr. Pando responded that they were still investigating me and these individuals were crucial to the investigation. This, after they had already warned, cautioned and detained me. My lawyers also enquired how “an accused person” could make available witnesses for the investigation as this was the duty of he who investigates. We indicated that the best we could do was to convey the message to the persons involved. Obviously, to their grave distress.