Stephen Chenjerai Tserayi, a member of the Close Unit, was suspended following the recent arrest of the controversial president of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF), Henrietta Rushwaya – who was busted on
Monday for allegedly attempting to smuggle 6kg of gold to Dubai
This comes as Mnangagwa has cut loose a number of high-ranking government officials, including Cabinet ministers, after they were mired in alleged cases of graft.
It also comes as the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) is probing deputy Health and Child Care minister John Mangwiro, over accusations of having allegedly arm-twisted national medicines and medical consumables procurer, Natpharm, to award a US$5,6 million tender to an unregistered company.
Sources told the Daily News yesterday that Mnangagwa had ordered the removal of Tserayi from his team of bodyguards the moment he was told of his aide’s alleged involvement in the Rushwaya case.
“ED had Tserayi removed from his team the minute he heard about his alleged involvement with Rushwaya. “Tserayi was on duty, but apparently asked to be excused from guarding ED so that he could deliver some medical pills to a relative in Hatfield.
“Instead, he allegedly linked up with Rushwaya and escorted her to the airport where she was found with 6kg gold during security checks, following a tip-off.
“His story is apparently that he was asked to escort Rushwaya to the airport where he would come back driving her car after her departure.
“No one believes his story. He has been suspended pending finalisation of investigations by the superiors,” one of the sources told the Daily News yesterday.
Tserayi’s boss and Mnangagwa’s director for security, Visitor Jerry (VJ) Mutumhe, was not reachable on his mobile for a comment.
Meanwhile, Tserayi is among several intelligence operatives and police officers who were arrested after Rushwaya’s appearance in court on Wednesday.
The arrest of Tserayi comes as the State has alleged that Rushwaya is part of a wider smuggling syndicate that allegedly involved intelligence operatives. Giving reasons for the withdrawal of its consent to grant Rushwaya bail on Wednesday, the State also revealed how closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras at Robert Gabriel Mugabe Airport were allegedly switched off to grant her swift access to clearance formalities.
This comes after she was arrested on Monday, after she was found in possession of 6kg of gold. Rushwaya, 53, was said to have arrived at the airport and passed through passport control within four minutes.
She was, at the time, due to fly to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, when airport security scanners flagged her hand luggage – which was said to be concealing the gold worth nearly US$400 000. This comes as Mnangagwa and his government have stepped up the fight against graft, with several Cabinet ministers and high-ranking officials being cut loose in the last few months after being accused of corruption.
Early this month Zacc said it had opened an investigation against Mangwiro, over allegations that he arm-twisted Natpharm to award a US$5,6 million Covid-19 tender to Young Health Care.
The company was not registered with the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Praz), a requirement for companies wishing to do business with the government. Zacc deputy chairperson Kuziva Murapa confirmed to the Daily News then that they were probing.
Mangwiro as part of wider investigations into the procurement of Zimbabwe’s coronavirus supplies. It is alleged that Mangwiro held a meeting with Natpharm’s tender adjudication team in the evening, before allegedly ordering them to issue a supply order the same night for Covid-19 consumables to Young Health Care.
Surprisingly, the accusations against Mangwiro happened between July and August – well after authorities had jettisoned former Health and Child Care minister Obadiah Moyo and former Natpharm chief executive Flora Sifeku. Mnangagwa has declared zero tolerance for graft and has so far sacked Moyo and former Labour and Social Welfare minister Prisca Mupfumira, after they were mired in corruption. In addition, several other high profile individuals have been arraigned before the courts as Zacc clamps down on corruption.
Former Energy minister in the late former president Robert Mugabe’s Cabinet, Samuel Undenge, is currently serving a jail term after he was recently convicted of corruption.
Also sent to jail was former director of State Residences, Douglas Tapfuma, who was convicted of corruptly importing vehicles for his own gain. He was sentenced to an effective four years in prison.