Grace lying, says Mpofu

BULAWAYO - Former first lady Grace Mugabe is defying a court order to vacate Smithfield Farm, which she claims has been invaded by artisanal miners who are suspected to be Zanu PF youths, Home Affairs and Culture minister Obert Mpofu said yesterday.

Mpofu told a news conference here that police have also established that there was no break-in at her orphanage, housed on Smithfield Farm in Mazowe, where she claims valuables, including laptops, were reportedly stolen under suspicious circumstances. Mpofu, who is the minister responsible for police, said the alleged theft was an “inside job”.

Mpofu said Grace was actually illegally occupying the farm which she claims was last week invaded by artisanal miners.

The invaders have allegedly destroyed large acres of citrus plantations and irrigation equipment.

On Thursday, Grace confronted the illegal artisanal miners who she alleged now pose a threat to the thriving citrus plantation. The former first lady claims she has papers proving that she is the bona fide owner of the property.

In a report made to Mazowe Police Station on Thursday, Grace indicated that some of her properties have been stolen.

She claims the illegal gold miners who threatened to beat her up, might be the thieves targeting her empire in Mazowe.

“The illegal activities also pose a security threat to my children’s home as the illegal panners are also seen loitering inside the home at night, and recently theft cases have occurred at the home,” she said in her recorded report.

With only skeletal security, after the State stripped her of “bodyguards”, Grace was accompanied to the police post by her nephew — who is now some sort of her close bodyguard.

Mpofu told a press briefing that there was a High Court ruling directed Gushungo Holdings — a business concern owned by the former first family — to vacate the mining claim.

“The ZRP attended the scene on 30 and 31 March 2018 and established through interviews and physical checks and there were no illegal miners at the children’s home and lemon plantation,” Mpofu said.

“The inquiries revealed that there is a mining dispute between the former first family and three mining syndicates, Mondo 3 led by Bright Maonga, Mondo 4 mining claim led by Shepherd Nyazvingo and Xmas 159 led by Mohammed Khan. The syndicates went to the High Court and obtained a provisional order which bars police and Gushungo Holdings from interfering with their mining operations, High Court order HC 293/18 refers,” he said.

Grace alleged that the illegal panners had stolen 31 laptops, but Mpofu said that was a lie.

Mpofu said only eight laptops went missing on March 2.

He also said the laptops were stolen by her employees who have since been arrested.

“On 2nd March 2018, the caretaker at Amai Mugabe School in Mazowe noticed that eight laptops were missing from the storeroom and informed the school administrator on 6th March 2018. A report was subsequently made to police on 8th march 2018.

“Police officers attended to the scene and established that there was no sign of physical break-in and indications were that duplicate keys had been used to gain entry. This showed that the offence was an inside job,” Mpofu said.

Mpofu said according to police, Grace’s employees Amos Masimure, 29 and Wilson Pomba,32, were arrested for unlawful entry and theft, leading to the recovery of six laptops.

He said Masimure appeared at Bindura Magistrates’ Court on March 14, was found guilty and sentenced to two years and six months in jail. Mpofu said Masimure was also ordered to “restitute a sum of $1 500 before April 30.

Meanwhile, Pomba has been remanded to April 9 on $50 bail over the theft.

Mpofu further noted that his ministry in consultation with other security services will therefore provide security to the former first family as gazetted on December 22 2017.

A Statutory Instrument published in an extraordinary Government Gazette in terms of Presidential Pension and Retirement Benefits on December 22 last year, set out the benefits that former statesmen are entitled to.

Mugabe or any former president will be provided with two private secretaries, two drivers, two personnel assistants and two office attendants — a massive reduction from the bloated staff allocated to him while still serving.

According to the extraordinary Government Gazette, Mugabe is entitled to no less than six security personnel, a number that can be increased whenever the sitting president determines so.

Sources told our sister paper the Daily News on Sunday last week that the former first family now relies on relatives for security — after the police and officers from the Central Intelligence Organisation were gradually withdrawn.

“We now have very few people here. The police were withdrawn and now the former first lady is just an ordinary person,” said a source.

“Parameter fences have been destroyed and there is nothing the few security guards can do against scores of illegal gold miners.”

But Mpofu said the former first family still has the right to the protection of the law against any interference or attacks.

“Let me make it clear that all criminal reports related to the security and the property of the former first family will be swiftly attended to and investigate without fear or favour,” Mpofu told the news conference.

Comments (4)

Iyi chimhamha yanga ine mukanwa makafira chidembo

Moe Syslack - 2 April 2018

When power melts away, only the shadows of it can be seen disappearing in darkness.

Ziziharinanyanga - 2 April 2018

Though desires never ends, Grace should be ashamed of herself of being greedy , chindiro enda chindiro dzoka, zvamakaitira varungu ndozvouya kwamuru , Ingwe dyiwa uri nyama iwe

ped - 3 April 2018

Look at the pot calling the kettle black. The illegal military junta lead by Mnangagwa were only too happy to kiss the former First Lady's , you know what, just a short while ago. Hypocrisy at the highest level.

Ken Sharpe - 3 April 2018

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