Ex-perm secretary's murder trial opens

HARARE - A witness yesterday turned against the State in the trial of former permanent secretary in the ministry of Lands Frederick Chunga, accused of murdering and severing a man’s private parts for a suspected business ritual.

Chunga, a farmer and businessman, is jointly charged with Patricia Tembo, a suspected traditional healer who allegedly administered the ritual.

Canaan Vhimba yesterday told the court  he had not witnessed the murder, despite the police having recorded a video about him making indications and claiming Chunga was involved in the death of George Nyachumbu.

Vhimba, who was initially treated as an accomplice, told the court he was forced to give false information by the police.

“I was forced to claim that Chunga had killed somebody. You may do whatever you want with me, I do not know anything. It’s better you kill me, rather than abuse me in this way,” an emotional Vhimba said.

High Court Judge Joseph Musakwa ordered Vhimba to calm down.

“There is no need for you to do any theatrics…otherwise we will spend the (whole) day with you (here) if you do not toe the line,” Musakwa said.

Prosecutor Beaven Murevanhema alleges that Chunga ran over Nyachumbu between April and August 2005, while driving along a dusty road linking Burnhills and his Mvurachena Farm in Raffingora.

Chunga, who is represented by Harrison Nkomo, denied the allegations.

Chunga further said he did not knock down Nyachumbu and only came to know about the allegations when he was arrested in 2006.

Tembo also denied the allegations.

She denied practicing witchcraft or any traditional healing practices.

Through her lawyer Belinda Rupapa, Tembo said there was no evidence linking her to the commission of the offence.

The State alleges Chunga instructed his employees to dispose of Nyachumbu’s body.

It is alleged that before burying the body, the workers severed Nyachumbu’s private parts which they took to Tembo, who was to prepare a business enhancing ritual.

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