By Fungai Lupande
Former ZRP Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri has broken his silence over the $3 million lawsuit he is facing from businessman Mr Bigboy Pachirera, who alleges that the former police boss forcibly took over his posh cars and properties.
In a letter written to Mr Pachirera’s lawyer Mr Rungano Mahuni, Chihuri, through his lawyers Mutamangira and Associates insists that the businessman voluntarily handed over the contentious vehicles and properties as settlement for financial losses that his businesses suffered when Pachirera — who was his employee — ran a parallel business to his own.
Mr Pachirera, he claims, was employed at his company Kidsdale Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd as a transport manager from 1998 to 2013.
During the time, he allegedly registered a business and subsequently began drawing down fuel from his company.
He, however, did not declare his interest.
“Without declaring interest, your client secretly registered a transport company, Cheinpac Investments, offering the same services as his employer,” read the letter.
“Between February and June 2007, your client stole 49 500 litres of diesel meant for Kidsdale’s Shamva project. In 2011, Kidsdale was contracted on the Harare-Bulawayo Road dualisation project.
“Your client, as the transport manager, contracted his two tipper trucks alongside his employers trucks, drawing diesel from Kidsdale Enterprises’ account at PaKarina Service Station. He drew 2 150 litres of diesel valued at $2 795,” said Chihuri.
The ex-police chief also claimed that between 2012 and 2013, Kidsdale was contracted on Harare-Mutare Road, particularly for the Ruwa project, and, again, Pachirera allegedly used part of the $81 596,50 provided for fuel to fund his company, causing his employer financial loss.
His contract was terminated as a result.
According to Chihuri, Pachirera later wrote a letter on January 15, 2014 begging Kidsdale to resolve the matter amicably.
“He was very remorseful and willingly proposed to settle the amounts he stole. He offered a Jeep Cherokee valued at $80 000 and ML 350 CDI valued at $160 000,” read the letter.
“In a letter dated January 24, 2014, he agreed to surrender the Highfield property. As this could not satisfy his debt, your client willingly offered his Scania tipper truck and a DAF tipper truck. At the material time he had legal representation.
“The allegations by your client are baseless and your demand for $2,968 million is also baseless. Your threat to approach the court is groundless. This is a desperate attempt to extort money,” the letter adds.
However, Mr Mahuni noted that his client was coerced to sign some papers by the police.
“All the papers allegedly signed by my client were commissioned by the police, precisely the officer commanding CID Homicide, Harare,” said Mr Mahuni.
“In our settlement plan, you only mentioned the Jeep Cherokee and Mercedes Benz ML 350. Our client is amenable to receive the two vehicles after they are inspected to determine their condition.
“However, there is no mention of the trucks and house. My client demands his property back and an additional truck, or its value to mitigate the losses he suffered in business for the past three years.
“We are aware that you are currently earning income out of use of his vehicles, which are working on the Harare-Mutare Highway.” The Herald