Police Commissioner Erasmus Makodza, who is accused of corruptly allocating a piece of land at a police farm in Mashonaland East Province to his alleged girlfriend during the time he was heading the province, yesterday denied the charges when his trial opened saying he never participated in the process of deciding on whether to offer her the part of the farm or not.
Commissioner Makodza, who was represented by lawyer Mr Tapiwa Makanza, is being charged with corruptly concealing a transaction from a principal and alternatively criminal abuse of office.
He denied the charges when he appeared before regional magistrate Mr Noel Mupeiwa.
“He recused himself from attending to anything to do with Maonei Chapfudzas (herein after referred to as the applicant) application that is to say, accused did not chair the committee which decides on applications for a public private partnership with the Zimbabwe Republic Police as regards police farms.
“His subordinate Assistant Commissioner Moyo (the late) chaired the committee. In the ordinary course and scope of doing business the accused would have been the one who would have chaired the committee,” reads part of the outline. Mr Makanza added that Comm Makodza was a non-participant in the whole process and that in any event he had no personal interest in the transaction
He said Makodza did not fail to disclose anything as he did not have a personal interest in the transaction since he was not in a relationship with Chapfudza and had simply had a child with her two years prior to the alleged offence.
“Out of the abundance caution and in order to avoid a situation where he could be said to have abused his office by entertaining the applicant’s application, he therefore recused himself.
“At the material time, the accused (Comm Makodza) was not a director in Jeriel Enterprises (Private) Limited. The State is put to the strict proof thereof.
“Accused will also state that he did not deceive his principal nor did he intend to derive any gift or consideration for himself,” said Mr Makanza.
He said Comm Makodza did not omit to do anything which he had a legal obligation to do as a public official.
“Infact he had no legal obligation to disclose his private relationships with anyone as they are not relevant in the conduct of his official duties however in this case he did so. Accused will also state that since he did not participate in the approvals for applicant’s application he could not have then been charged with showing favour to the applicant,” Mr Makanza added.
Meanwhile, the State also called its two witnesses, Superintendent Mugove Chidhakwa and Sergeant Norbet Hlabati who alleged that both their statements were doctored or tampered with by the investigations officer, Mr Eric Chacha.
First to testify was Sgt Hlabati who by that time of the alleged offence was the farm manager at the police projects farm Mashonaland East, said Comm Makodza did not do anything wrong as he never participated in the whole processes since he was not part of the committee.
“I am not aware of any wrongdoing on this agreement by the accused person. I did not see the accused person showing interest or favour on this agreement. Although he was my superior, he would only give instructions through the normal channels and those instructions had nothing to do with the agreement,” he said.
Sgt Hlabati however denied his statement which was recorded by the investigating officers saying the court should now consider the one he had made during cross examination in court yesterday.
“Some of my statement that I made were altered by the investigating officer. I plead with the court to follow with the correct statements I am making right now under oath during these court proceedings,” he said.
Meanwhile, Supt Chidhakwa who was by then the Mashonaland East provincial intelligence officer also denied his statement which was recorded since he alleged that it was doctored.
The senior officers also exonerated Comm Makodza for any wrong doing during the transactions.
Ms Tendai Shonhai, appeared for the State, alleged that in 2019, Comm Makodza decided to corruptly benefit from police projects in Mashonaland East where he was at the time officer commanding.
Comm Makodza is said to have engaged Assistant Commissioner Stephen Zengeya, who was responsible for administration in the province, and told him that there was a private investor who wanted to use Lendy Farm, which is owned by police.
It is alleged that Comm Makodza then introduced Maonei Chapfudza to Asst Comm Zengeya, saying she wanted to invest into piggery, poultry and horticulture on the police farm. The Herald