By Owen Gagare
Prominent radio and television personality Tichafa Matambanadzo — popularly known as Tich Mataz — literally walked into the lion’s den — Harare Central Police Station — on Monday where he was immediately arrested on allegations of fraud.
Matambanadzo, whom police said was on the run after being implicated in a high-profile fraud case involving Retired Air Commodore Kennedy Zimondi, had gone to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID)’s serious frauds section with his lawyer Wellington Pasipanodya of Manase and Manase Law Firm.
CID spokesperson Augustine Zimbili said Mataz would appear in court soon. “I can confirm that we are holding him and he is assisting with investigations,” said Zimbili. Pasipanodya refused to comment. He said: “I cannot comment because the matter is yet to go to court.”
The police last week said they were looking for Matambanadzo, but a day after the announcement, the showbiz personality walked into the NewsDay newsroom, saying he was unaware he was being sought after the paper broke the story.
Zimondi, who was presented in court as the director-general of military sports in the Ministry of Defence, allegedly connived with Matambanadzo and Edith Chinyagare to swindle a Harare man, Jimmy Makurumbandi, of $5 000 in March this year.
The Air Force of Zimbabwe has, however, disowned Zimondi, saying he had retired from the force and was no longer their member although, as is the norm worldwide, he continued to carry his rank with the prefix “retired”.
Zimondi and Chinyangare have already appeared in court. The State alleges Zimondi, Chinyangare and Matambanadzo misrepresented to Makurumbandi that they had organised a trip to Geneva, Switzerland, on government business.
The arrangement, the State says, was that the complainant would proceed with Matambanadzo and Chinyangare in place of Zimondi whom they alleged was under a travel ban. Zimondi and his co-accused allegedly asked the complainant to pay $5 000 for their trip as it was purportedly self-sponsored but promised he would be refunded.
“When the accused persons made the arrangements, they well knew that such a trip was not in place,” read the State outline. Matambanadzo is a well-known showbiz personality both in Zimbabwe and South Africa, where he had a glittering albeit controversial career. NewsDay