By Tendai Rupapa
A Kwekwe businessman Shepherd Tundiya allegedly coerced the director of JR Goddard Contracting Pvt Ltd to withdraw a criminal abuse of office report he had made against four members of the National Assembly.
It is the State’s case that Mr James Ross Goddard reported a criminal case against Messrs Temba Mliswa, Anele Ndebele, Prince Sibanda and Leonard Chikomba to police.
The allegations emanated from a US$400 000 bribe purportedly demanded by Chikomba and Sibanda from Goddard to facilitate the awarding of a mining contract with Hwange Colliery Pvt Ltd.
Tundiya, the court heard, later advised Goddard to withdraw the police report against the quartet and gave him an ultimatum to do so.
Tundiya, who is the director of Avim Investments (Pvt) Ltd, was summoned to appear before the court facing a charge of attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.
He appeared before Mr Lazini Ncube, who remanded him to Thursday for trial commencement.
Mr Michael Reza represented the State.
It is alleged that on December 19 last year, Goddard made a report to the police against the four after Chikomba and Sibanda had allegedly demanded US$400 000 bribe during a meeting that had been facilitated by Tundiya.
It is the State’s case that Tundiya had emphasised to Goddard that he should give Chikomba and Sibanda a kickback for them to process the award.
The meeting at which the MPs allegedly demanded the bribe took place at Goddard’s office in Harare.
On January 23 this year, Goddard allegedly received a phone call from Tundiya who told him that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya wanted to meet him (Goddard) to discuss his company’s application for R52 million external payments for the purchase of heavy mining equipment in South Africa.
On the following day, Goddard and his company’s administration director, Mr Douglas Mapfukidze, met Tundiya at RBZ and he took them to Dr Mangudya’s office.
Tundiya, the State alleged, went on to advise Goddard that the application was being processed and directed that he should withdraw the police report which he had made against Mliswa and other members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee. It is alleged he said the charges would cause great embarrassment to Mangudya.
Tundiya further indicated that the withdrawal should be effected before January 29, it is alleged.
On the following day, Goddard reported the matter to the police as he felt Tundiya was interfering. The Chronicle