'Kereke wanted out-of-court rape settlement'

HARARE - Bikita West Zanu PF legislator Munyaradzi Kereke attempted to quash his sexual assault case by seeking an out-of-court settlement with the guardians of victims, a Harare court heard yesterday.

The maverick businessman is standing trial on charges of sexually molesting two minors at his Borrowdale residence in 2010.

Francis Maramwidze, the grandfather and custodian of the victims, testified during continuation of Kereke’s trial before Harare regional magistrate Noel Mupeiwa, and said that Kereke wanted the case treated as private.

He said he refused to entertain the request saying that whether Kereke could be charged with rape was the jurisdiction of the lower court that is dealing with the case.

The grandfather told the court he came under sustained harassment from Kereke after spurning his appeals.

“After I had reported the matter to the police, the accused person became a menace, coming to my house sometimes during the morning, afternoon and even evenings,” Maramwidze said.

“On most of the occasions, my family and workers would be around and Kereke was accompanied by his wife. He tried to talk us out of the case but I refused.

“I felt infuriated that he wanted to even talk inside my house and did not respect me enough to consider that he had violated my children.”
Maramwidze said following Kereke’s visits, he was pestered by police details who also wanted to coax him to withdraw the rape case.

“One day, six police officers knocked at my gate and said they needed to see my grandchildren so that they could append their signatures for the docket to be closed,” Maramwidze said.

“Those cops claimed that the case was weak and could not proceed but refused to name who had sent them.

“I later received a call from one inspector Mabasa based at Ahmed House who also wanted to see the complainants. I went to his offices thrice looking for him but failed to locate him.”

Maramwidze also claimed that the police were retrogressive in their approach to the issue and that there “must have been a lot of master-minding in distorting the information that the victims provided to the police.”

According to Maramwidze, Kereke is reported to have told him: “We need to resolve this amicably as you know rape at gun point attracts a 28-year jail term.”

Maramwidze said he was flabbergasted when the government’s top prosecutor declined to prosecute the case, leading to the ongoing private prosecution.
ut Kereke’s lawyer, Erum Mutandiro, said the decline of prosecution of the matter was justified because the-then attorney general, now Prosecutor-General (PG), Johannes Tomana had noted glaring inconsistencies and anomalies in the case.

“…where there is no incriminating evidence the State can refuse to prosecute,” Mutandiro said.

Regional magistrate Mupeiwa then granted an order for Tomana to release the original docket for the benefit of private prosecutor Charles Warara.

Warara had noted inconsistencies in a scene report that was recorded at Borrowdale Police Station, which had various hand writings and some crucial information crossed-out.

“…it is as though four people wrote the same report and clearly, we suspect that it was tampered with,” Warara said.

“We have written to the PG on several occasions to give us the original but for some reason they ignored our requests and their explanation for doing so was not cogent.”

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