By Prosper Dembedza
A senior police officer Chief Superintendent Joseph Josphat Matipforo has filed a report alleging that Zimbabwe Anti Corruption (ZACC) investigator Eric Chacha is obstructing the course of justice and criminally abusing his office in handling his matter.
Chief Supt Matipforo is under investigation for bribery and criminal abuse of office after he was allegedly allocated a residential stand corruptly by Harare City Council officers who are under investigation by CID Commercial Crimes Division (CCD).
In a letter dated February 12 to ZACC chair Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo, copied to police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga, head of the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU) Mr Thabani Mpofu and Prosecutor General Mr Kumbirai Hodzi, Chief Supt Matipforo said the letter was not aimed at stopping investigations into his case, but to highlight irregularities in the manner Chacha was handling the matter.
“The purpose of this letter to your esteemed office is not to try to stop investigations or to explain my innocence as I will do that in a court of law but it is to expose malice, criminal abuse of office and defeating the course of justice as perpetrated by the ZACC investigating officer Eric Chacha,” he wrote.
He said in July 2020, he was placed under investigation for alleged bribery or criminal abuse of office over the stand allocation with the probe culminating in the arrest of four officers at CCD whose cases are pending.
“The matter was being investigated by Chacha and he dropped charges against me after he realised that I was not part of the investigating team as I was working for CID Asset Forfeiture Unit, an establishment different from CCD, hence I was not privy to the fraud investigation.
“He also realised that even though I had acquired a residential stand from Harare City Council, it was after following all relevant council procedures such as being on waiting list and attending interviews, and all my papers were in order.
Chief Supt Matipforo said later in 2020 Chacha and his workmates plotted to destroy his professional career by continuing with the prosecution even though it was clear that he was innocent.
“In one of the routine meetings where he (Chacha) discussed my case at ZACC, he was advised by fellow workmates that there was no case against Mutipforo and he said he wasn’t worried about evidence or conviction but once he placed a person on remand and had him published in the media he was done with him.
The arrest and negative publicity came to pass, the senior policeman said.
Chief Supt Matipforo further wrote that on October 14, 2020, he was arrested by Chacha who was with one Sandra Kuziva at his office and was taken for interrogation.
“I submitted my warned and cautioned statement in writing whereby I denied the charges and offered to present documentary evidence if afforded the opportunity.
“He clearly told me that he was under pressure from undisclosed individuals to detain me and I pleaded with him to escort me to my office where I had documents which confirmed my innocence.
“He initially declined but after warning him that I would not hesitate filing for unlawful arrest and detention he eventually released me on condition that I would bring my evidence the following day (15 October 2020),” wrote Chief Supt Matipforo.
He said on October 15, he presented to Eric Chacha and Sandra Kuziva, all documents on the stand acquisition which were confirmed to be authentic by Harare City Council.
“Chacha indeed confirmed I was innocent and he said “ko vanhu vanokuvengerei” (why do people hate you) and I told him to be objective and not to be used by my .
Chief Supt Matipforo said he was released but on October 20, Chacha stormed his office intending to arrest him but he resisted saying he could not be arrested twice for the same offence. I pledged to attend court the following day even though he didn’t have any summons.
“On October 21, 2020 we attended vetting at the National Prosecuting Authority and to my surprise on his Request for Remand (Form 242) Chacha insisted that I had violated council procedure.
“He withheld from prosecutors, crucial information (documents) which I had given him which proved my innocence.
“He was asked by Chief Law Officer Ulade why he had brought me on Forms 242 opposing bail yet he had initially arrested me on the 14th of October 2020 and released me,” he wrote.
Chief Supt Matipforo said Chacha was further asked why he couldn’t finalise his docket and submit when complete but he refused to respond to such questions in my presence and requested that I go out of the office. My lawyer, Mr Mugiya objected to our going out but I offered to go out for progress’ sake since I knew I was innocent and I believed justice would prevail.
“Chacha refused to respond in my presence because he knew he wanted to mislead the prosecutors and he wouldn’t achieve that in my presence. All he wanted was to have me placed on remand and published in the media to please his handlers.”
Chief Supt Matipforo added: “I have reasonable belief that Eric Chacha must be investigated and prosecuted for two criminal offences, obstructing or defeating the course of justice and alternatively, criminal abuse of office as a public officer. The Herald.