By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
Former Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri has rubbished claims that he wanted to arrest former army commander General Constantino Chiwenga, now vice president, at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport as he returned from China on November 12 during the genesis of the military intervention that ousted the late former president Robert Mugabe.
During the last days of Mugabe’s regime at the centre of factionalism in the ruling Zanu PF, there was a divided state security with the police headed by Chihuri supporting the then president Mugabe and the military supporting then vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, now President.
Speaking for the first time in exile via court affidavits, Chihuri said it was a lie told to Chiwenga by Godwin Matanga, who would become the new police chief following the military coup.
In his fight to stop attempts to seize his properties over alleged corruption, Chihuri through his lawyer Addington Chinake, on Friday filed a court challenge and in the affidavit described his alleged persecution following the coup and accused Matanga in particular of harassing his family.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has accused Chihuri of siphoning millions of dollars from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), money which was mysteriously transferred to companies linked to his family or associates.
Chihuri added that an ‘unexplained wealth order’ issued on June 12 which required him to prove his innocence against alleged criminal activity violated his right to presumption of innocence until proven guilty, guaranteed by section 70 of the constitution.
“Matanga went on to lie to the then CDF (Chiwenga) that I wanted to arrest him upon his return from China at RG Mugabe Airport. This was not so but blatant lies to sow seeds of division and hate between me and the then CDF.
“Godwin Matanga did all this to secure his position. Godwin Matanga has made all sorts of allegations against me, lying shamelessly,” read Chihuri’s court documents.
The court documents filed by Chihuri have also exposed corruption and nepotism in Zanu PF administration.
He defended his wife who was a supplier for the ZRP and said the same contracts were awarded to Jocelyn Chiwenga who supplied the ZRP with traffic police sleeves and Mary Chiwenga who was the government’s travel agent.
In the application also filed on behalf of his wife, children and five companies, Chihuri added that, “by allowing the court to make an ex parte order which is final in nature against the applicants without affording them a right to be heard, section 37B(1) of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Act violates the applicants’ right to protection of the law as enshrined in section 56(1) of the constitution… and the right to a fair hearing as enshrined in section 69 of the constitution.
“By limiting itself only to people who hold property whose value is greater than US$100,000, section 37C(1) of the Act unfairly and discriminately targets the applicants on the basis of their social and economic status in violation of section 56(3) of the constitution.
“Section 37(B)1 as read with section 371 of the Act violate the applicants’ property rights as enshrined in section 71(2) of the constitution by taking away their liberty to deal with their property as they please on the basis of an unexplained wealth order which was filed, heard and granted in breach of the audi alterum partem rule,” Chihuri added.
Already under High Court orders to explain where he found the money to buy a swathe of properties, Chihuri was recently ordered to explain why he allegedly transferred US$10.4 million of police money to a company owned by relatives of a former colleague. Nehanda Radio