The Sunday News
Daniel Nemukuyu, Harare Bureau
Whistle-blowers flocked the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (ZACC) from as far as Kariba yesterday and as a result Minister of State for Presidential Affairs (Monitoring and
Implementation of Government Programmes) Jorum Gumbo faces more criminal charges.
The Minister and investigation team were already at Harare Magistrates’ Court for an initial hearing on the first three charges of criminal abuse of office brought by ZACC when they were all called to the ZACC offices in Mount Pleasant for more questioning.
Gumbo will now be released but be summoned for trial when investigations are complete.
ZACC chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo yesterday said that her officers had to call the Minister and the investigators back from the courts for further investigations.
In an interview, Justice Matanda-Moyo said her office had received more information with the potential of generating three fresh charges for the minister.
“Following his arrest, certain informants rushed here with more evidence. We had to recall him from court in order for us to further investigate and verify the new allegations being raised.
“We are in the process of recording statements from the witnesses and we will then call him to give his side of the story later. He is likely to be charged with additional three charges,” said Justice Matanda-Moyo.
She said some witnesses came from as far as Kariba and if the evidence proves to be credible, Minister Gumbo will face the extra charges.
Justice Matanda-Moyo said ZACC would release the Minister on condition he will be summoned to court on completion of investigations. “We will allow him to go home while we prepare the necessary papers for him to go to court,” she said.
Harare lawyer Mr Gwinyai Shumba said if you are allowed to go home, you can only be summoned to court when the investigations are complete. Remand in custody or on bail does not apply.
“The 48-hour period in which one is supposed to be taken to court upon arrest only applies to those in custody.
“If one is released after being charged, there is no specific time frame in which you should be taken to court,” he said.
Mr Shumba, who served as a prosecutor for a long time, said one is considered charged upon recording of a warned and cautioned statement.
“A warned and cautioned statement is proof that one has been charged of an offence. Whether one is released after signing the warned and cautioned statement, does not take away the fact that he or she would have been charged,” said Mr Shumba.
Gumbo is being accused of showing favour to his relative, the politician Mavis Gumbo, by awarding her a contract to rent out her house to Zimbabwe Airways.
As part of the deal, it is alleged Gumbo directed the release of US$1 million for the refurbishment of Ms Gumbo’s property and customising it into the airline’s headquarters.
The house is located at 1436 Gletwin, Shawasha Hills, just south of Glen Lorne and about as far from the airport as you can be in Harare, and the charges will be that Government lost US$1 million in refurbishing the property and Ms Gumbo received huge amounts of money in monthly rent from a Government investment.
He also stands accused of corruptly reinstating CMED chief executive Mr Davison Mhaka, despite a disciplinary tribunal finding him guilty of misconduct after he authorised payment of US$2,7 million to a fuel company for the supply of fuel that was never delivered.
Despite the tribunal finding Mr Mhaka guilty and his subsequent dismissal by the CMED board, Gumbo intervened and directed his reinstatement without explanation.