Magistrate remands Chikore case

HARARE - Cop absolves Mugabe’s son-in-law of wrong doing  A police officer has cleared Simba Chikore, son in law of former President Robert Mugabe, of any wrongdoing in a case he is accused of unlawfully detaining Zimbabwe Airways legal secretary Bertha Zakeyo.  

Alwyn Tigere was testifying in the case where Chikore, who is jointly charged with a security guard Simbarashe Mutimbe, is accused of stopping Zakeyo from exiting the controversial airline’s offices after summarily firing her.

Allegations are that Chikore — married to Mugabe’s daughter Bona — reportedly embarked on a purge of senior staff at Zimbabwe Airways he accused of being disloyal to the company. According to Zakeyo, she received a letter from her boss Chikore, demanding that she responds to a battery of charges levelled against her.

The charges included holding unsanctioned meetings outside the company premises and trading sensitive information. 
She later received an e-mail from Chikore demanding that she writes a report detailing her dealings with unnamed external parties.

In a docket opened at the Highlands Police Station, Zakeyo said Chikore — whom she accused of masquerading as a captain — kidnapped her for more than two hours and also denied her access to her lawyer, Phillipa Phillips with help from police officers including Tigere.

Testifying yesterday, Tigere said that Zakeyo’s freedom of movement was never restricted and could move as she pleased.
It was his testimony that when they arrived at Zakeyo’s offices, she was drinking tea alone and refused to hand over the company property after she was fired by Chikore.

“We were told that the complainant wanted to hand over the cell phone in the presence of the police and when we asked her to do so, she shifted goal posts and demanded to hand over the phone at the police station,” he told the court. He said when her lawyer Philips arrived at the scene, Zakeyo refused to surrender the phone, whose contents were never revealed in court.

“During lunch, she served her food, made some calls and charged her cell phone. When we instructed her to leave, she told us that she was not in a hurry because a local news crew was on the way.
“We had no option but to wait for her to leave because we could not leave both parties under the same roof,” Tigere added.

The State also insisted on leading evidence from Philips, with prosecutor Mirirai Shumba saying they “cannot do without her evidence.” This comes after Philips wrote to the prosecutor general saying she cannot testify against Chikore citing conflict of interest.
In the letter, Philips also stated that she went to the Zimbabwe Airways premises in her capacity as the company lawyer not as Zakeyo’s lawyer.

Shumba said he will engage his superiors to interpret whether section 294 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, which prohibits lawyers from testifying against their clients, applies to Philips. “I will seek directive from my superiors to come up with a proper interpretation because section 294 is very broad and does not give specific parameters,” Shumba said

Magistrate Victoria Mashamba remanded the matter to March 27.

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