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Bid to cover up Zimondi's role in Kereke prison saga exposed

by Staff reporter
27 Feb 2020 at 06:20hrs | Views
TOP prisons official Senior Assistant Commissioner Phineas Chitekuteku was yesterday exposed in court after he tried to defend his boss Commissioner-General Paradzai Zimondi's involvement in jailed rapist Munyaradzi Kereke's preferential treatment in prison.

Chitekuteku yesterday testified in the matter of three ZPCS  senior officers, Nobert Chomurenga (58) senior assistant commissioner Cephas Chiparausha (43), chief correctional officer and Tonderai Mutiwaringa (56) an assistant commissioner who are facing criminal abuse of office charges.

Chitekuteku told regional magistrate Amos Mbobo during the trial that during his tenure as the officer commanding  Harare Metropolitan from January 2016 and December 2017, Zimondi visited Chikurubi Maximum Prisons only twice in his company.

But the prison records produced in court by the trio's lawyer Oscar Gasva  showed that Zimondi visited Chikurubi more than seven times.

The trio in their defence had told the court that Zimondi facilitated the appointment of former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe top official Kereke to supervise a prison project and donor coordination.

They further said Zimondi officially appointed Kereke as the advisor at a function which was attended by Chitekuteku, Chomurenga, Elizabert Banda and one deputy commissioner Chihobvu.

"As far as I know Zimondi visited Chikurubi only twice during my tenure as H.Metro (Harare Metropolitan) commanding officer. He visited there when there was a function to launch a gas project which is being mined there and another project which was being sponsored by Lafarge Cement company," Chitekuteku said.

Chitekuteku said there was no way Zimondi could visit the Chikurubi Prison without him knowing, but Gasva produced a prison report revealing that Zimondi visited more than seven times.

Chitekuteku then backed down saying he meant visiting the Chikurubi Prison in his presence and would not know how many times he visited.

Gasva then told Chitekuteku that in one of those several visits, that is when Zimondi met Kereke. But Chitekuteku responded saying the visit to Chikurubi was not targeted at Kereke only but meeting all prisoners.

Gasva said when Chitekuteku was promoted from officer commanding H-Metro to the post of Senior Assistant Commissioner, he refused to do a handover takeover with Chomurenga.

Chitekuteku admitted that it was an omission which was not supposed to happen, but insisted that it was due to the location he was posted. Gasva then told Chitekuteku that section 25 of the ZPCS Act prohibits such conduct.

But Chitekuteku responded that sometimes they ignored the Act.

The trial is continuing.

Allegations are that the three accused gave preferential treatment to Kereke in the form of allowing unscheduled visits from his relatives, enjoying extra free time compared to other prisoners and not allowing him to carry out any manual work in terms of set-out procedures.

Source - newsday