By Tendai Rupapa
Bikita West legislator Munyaradzi Kereke, accused of raping an 11-year-old girl in 2010 at gunpoint, allegedly threatened Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe head of financial intelligence inspectorate, evaluation and security Mr Mirirai Chiremba with unspecified action for refusing to backdate the surrender of a gun he is suspected of using earlier in committing an offence.
It is alleged Kereke pointed the gun at the girl and threatened to shoot her if she did not comply with his orders.
Kereke claims he was not in possession of the pistol arguing he surrendered it to the RBZ on June 14, 2010.
Mr Chiremba yesterday claimed Kereke forced him to sign a provision of receipt dated June 14.
“He threatened me saying that if I did not sign, he was going to fix me and as an advisor to the Governor then, he was a powerful man hence I signed under duress,” he said.
Private prosecutor handling the matter Mr Charles Warara asked Mr Chiremba to narrate to the court how and where he was given the pistol.
“On August 22 around 5 am, I checked my phone and noticed there was a missed call from the accused (Kereke) and I returned the call. He then ordered me to meet him at Bon Marché in Chisipite and we met at around 6:45am. He produced the pistol and told me he wanted it taken back to the RBZ security department,” he said.
“He said there were people alleging that he had committed an offence using the pistol. I asked him to shed more light on the allegations and he said it was a minor misunderstanding with a relative. He said,if possible, I should enter an earlier date of return. He looked stressed and worried.”
Mr Chiremba said he took the pistol and locked it up in his office safe intending to hand it over to RBZ head of security Mr Grasham Muradzikwa.
He said Kereke stormed into his office the following day at around 8am.
“When he insisted that I sign the provision of receipt which was dated June 14, I told him that the master register would show the actual date of return and I would be in trouble. He said he was not going to leave my office until I signed the document and I later gave in,” he said.
Mr Chiremba further told the court that he later called Mr Muradzikwa and narrated to him what had happened.
He said Mr Muradzikwa refused to take the pistol or backdate the return entry.
Mr Chiremba said he took the matter to then RBZ Governor Dr Gideon Gono who advised him not to touch the gun since they were not sure of the allegations Kereke said he was being accused of.
“Dr Gono told me to leave the pistol in the safe in case someone comes asking about it. He said I should tell the truth if anything relating to the pistol came up,” Mr Chiremba said.
During cross-examination, Kereke’s lawyer, Mr Erum Mutandiro, accused Mr Chiremba of lying.
He further accused him of conniving with Dr Gono to frame charges against Kereke in a bid to cover up for the offences Kereke reported against them to the police.
“Witness, why are you framing the accused person? Are you aware that he reported Gono to the police for fraud and treason? You and Gono want to frame him so as to cover up for the crimes he reported against the two of you. You connived to fabricate charges against my client,” he said.
Mr Mutandiro said if Kereke was guilty, Mr Chiremba was also guilty of concealing evidence by keeping the pistol in his safe for five years.
“The firearm is still with you. Do you know that concealing evidence is a crime? You said you told Gono of what had happened, so are you telling this court that Gono helped you to conceal evidence?” he asked.
Mr Chiremba refused to answer some of Mr Mutandiro’s questions on the basis that they were irrelevant to the case.
Mr Mutandiro maintained that his client returned the pistol on June 14, 2010, while the alleged offence was said to have been committed on August 22 of the same year.
Regional magistrate Mr Noel Mupeiwa presided over the case.
Mr Warara alleged that sometime in March 2010, Kereke was alone with the then 11-year-old girl, whom he grabbed by the waist and pushed onto the couch before fondling her breasts.
The girl allegedly screamed, but no one heard her. On August 22, 2010, the girl’s young sister was allegedly asked to baby sit by Kereke’s wife.
When the baby fell asleep, the girl sat on the couch in the bedroom and Kereke allegedly started fondling her.
He allegedly pointed the gun at the girl and threatened to shoot her if she did not comply with his orders. Kereke then raped the girl, it is alleged. The Herald