HARARE – Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo’s personal assistant, Ms Chipo Mukabeta, has been arrested.
She was arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and was still detained at Mabelreign Police Station last night.
Sources at ZACC said last night that Ms Mukabeta’s arrest was in connection with charges levelled against Minister Moyo.
“She has been arrested and is detained at Mabelreign Police Station. She is sleeping in custody today and is appearing in court,” said a ZACC source.
Asked on what charges Ms Mukabeta was facing, the source said they were related to what Prof Moyo was facing in the courts.
The source could not release further information.
Efforts to get a comment from ZAAC spokesperson Ms Phyllis Chikundura were fruitless.
Ms Mukabeta’s arrest by ZACC comes barely a week after Prof Moyo lost his constitutional challenge against arrest and is set to appear before a magistrate to answer to charges of misallocating over $400 000 from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef).
Prof Moyo was “arrested” by the ZACC on charges of abusing the funds. He then rushed to the Constitutional Court, arguing his rights had been violated as ZACC had no arresting powers.
He argued that a police officer, Sergeant Munyaradzi Chacha, who was on secondment to ZACC, had no powers to arrest him by virtue of the secondment.
The Constitutional Court ruled that the minister deserved no preferential treatment and that he should, like anyone else, follow the normal criminal procedure of arrest and appear before a magistrate.
It was found that he had jumped the gun by approaching the Apex Court instead of challenging his arrest at the lower court.
The Apex Court found that secondment of a police officer to the ZACC did not strip him or her of arresting powers.
Chief Justice Luke Malaba said a magistrate had the leeway to hear evidence from witnesses to clarify any dispute of facts, unlike a Constitutional Court that deals with papers filed before it.
He held that Prof Moyo’s case did not raise sound constitutional issues, hence it failed to meet the test for constitutional matters to be determined by the Apex Court.
Chief Justice Malaba found that the first respondent, Sergeant Chacha, remained a police officer despite the fact that he was seconded to ZACC.
In terms of Section 24 of the Police Act, one can only cease to be a police officer upon termination of his or her contract. The court also found that Prof Moyo wasted time by approaching the wrong court.
Prof Moyo’s charges include criminal abuse of office, fraud, corrupt concealment from principal of personal interests in a transaction and obstruction of the course of justice. The minister, his deputy Dr Godfrey Gandawa and Zimdef finance director Nicholas Mapute, are accused of abusing nearly $500 000 belonging to Zimdef.
Dr Gandawa and Mapute have since been placed on remand at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts. Before the trio’s court appearance date, Minister Moyo instructed his lawyer Mr Terrence Hussein to file an urgent interdict at the Constitutional Court.
In his application, he questioned the constitutionality of his arrest by Zacc and the role played by the police.
He argued that Zacc did not have the power to arrest and detain suspects in terms of the Constitution.
He also argued that the Prosecutor-General did not, in terms of the Constitution, have the power to order the police to arrest an individual.
Prosecutor-General Advocate Ray Goba argued that a docket that reached his office showed that there was an “overwhelmingly reasonable suspicion” that the politician and his accomplices committed fraud, theft, money laundering and criminal abuse of office. – Chronicle