Chihuri tightens screws on Temba Mliswa
Temba Mliswa appeared in court Wednesday on two new charges of allegedly swindling white former commercial farmers of cattle and equipment worth over US$24 million. The new charges arose as police are reportedly preparing dockets for at least 40 new cases against the farmer and businessman.
Police confirmed that Mliswa (38) is facing several criminal charges. On Wednesday he was not formally charged when he appeared before Harare magistrate Don Ndirowei, who remanded him in custody to today for bail ruling.
The new charges come barely three days after Mliswa, Martin Mutasa (47), the son of Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa, and George Marere (36) were released from remand prison. The trio was arrested last week for allegedly seizing shares worth US$1 million in a local company and spent the weekend in custody.
Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri is thought to have a vested interest in the company that was seized by Mliswa and his colleagues and the police chief is thought to be behind instructions ‘to teach him a lesson.’
In the latest case prosecutor Mrs Phyllis Zvenyika in opposing bail, led evidence from Superintendent Frank Muchengwa who said investigations were in their infancy and Mliswa should thus not be freed because he could interfere with witnesses. He said police were preparing dockets for at least 40 new cases against him.
Mliswa’s lawyer, Charles Chinyama, queried why the alleged new cases took long to be reported. Supt Muchengwa responded that Mliswa had intimidated police and because he was “untouchable”. Mr Chinyama, however, submitted that his client was suitable for bail as he had turned himself to the police.
On the first count, Mliswa allegedly misrepresented to Petros Jacobus van der Merwe, formerly of Orlib Park Lot 1 in Karoi, that he could help him sell his agri-equipment without State interference for a 10 percent commission. Mliswa allegedly sold the property but did not surrender any money to Van der Merwe.
He also allegedly took 108 cattle, three heavy vehicles, a coldroom, three tractors, a drowsy hammer, irrigation equipment, generators and other items all valued at US$3 644 058.
On the second count, Mliswa is accused of lying to Graham George Davis van Rensburg of Kwekwe — whose farm had been acquired for resettlement — that he could protect his equipment from being seized by the new owner. He allegedly induced the farmer to lie that he had an agreement with Mliswa for sale of the equipment and hence it could not be sold.
However, Mliswa allegedly took 3 000 cattle worth US$900 000 and farm equipment including bulldozers, tractors, lorries, graders and pick-up trucks all valued at US$20 million. Van Rensburg later realised that he had been duped after Mliswa claimed ownership of the property.