SKELETONS are now tumbling in the MDC-T party amid allegations that Mr Douglas Mwonzora, the runaway winner in Sunday’s disputed party presidential elections, misused nearly $6 million of party funds.
However, Mr Mwonzora who polled 883 votes to Dr Khupe’s miserly 118 votes, to become the main opposition party president said the allegations are unfounded and meant to tarnish his name.
Mr Mwonzora and Dr Khupe were slugging it out against Messrs Morgen Komichi and Elias Mudzuri who respectively got nine and 14 votes in a poll marred by violence including verbal and physical attacks on the former deputy prime minister.
The victory of Mr Mwonzora has, however, turned to be a bitter pill to swallow for the losing candidates who want him arrested for allegedly abusing party funds.
In a police report that was made on Saturday, a day before the congress Mr Patson Marimoga claimed that Mr Mwonzora withdrew money from the party accounts without express authority from other leaders in the opposition’s national standing committee. This is despite Dr Khupe herself having earlier on exonerated Mr Mwonzora.
“Some time in December 2020, MDC-T party was granted $14 million by the Government of Zimbabwe through the Political Parties Finance Act. The funds were deposited in MDC-T BancABC account number 50863225502015 Heritage Branch.
“On 18 December 2020, the accused person (Mr Mwonzora) transferred funds from MDC-T party said bank account into (Bell Petroleum BancABC account number 15104045502014). The funds were transferred in the following batches $2 400 000, $1 755 000, $1 800 000 making a total of $5 955 000.
“The MDC-T party had no relationship or any contract with the said company and as such the accused person was stealing the funds from the party’s account. Furthermore, the funds transfer was not approved by the MDC executive. Total value stolen is $5 955 000 and nothing was recovered,” read the police report CR: 2236/12/2020.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed that a police report had been made against Mr Mwonzora with the police commercial crimes unit seized with the matter.
Again in a letter that was written by the MDC-T deputy treasurer Mr Chief Ndlovu on Christmas Day, Mr Mwonzora was accused of the same charges which he however dismissed as a ploy by his rivals ahead of the congress last Sunday to discredit him.
A few hours after losing the elections to Mwonzora by a landslide Dr Khupe also indicated that Mr Mwonzora had nicked over $6 million from the party coffers.
“First, he (Mwonzora) took $300 000 from the party coffers without anybody knowing and we said it’s okay. And then $6 million as we speak right now is missing; he can’t account for the money.
“If you see this whole conference, it is happening on credit. I had to go out of my way together with the national chairman (Morgen Komichi), we had to ask for credit and yet he is holding $6 million. That is the $6 million he used to rig this election and I cannot allow this to go ahead.”
But Dr Khupe’s statement is a curious volte face after she on December 17 exonerated Mr Mwonzora of helping himself to the $300 000, through a letter to the police which partly read “For the avoidance of doubt from our records, no money was ever stolen from our party by anyone let alone Senator Mwonzora. All our monies have been fully accounted for and all transactions were above board. In short, Senator Mwonzora did not steal any money from MDC T as alleged by Mr Chisvo. We are surprised that after reporting this matter to you Mr Chisvo would go to the press to publish these allegations himself”.
On his part Mr Mwonzora said the charges were part of mudslinging by his rivals saying every single cent has been accounted for by the party executive.
“From the breakdown so far, it is clear of the $14.9 million no money is missing at all. The breakdown that was given to the standing committee is open for inspection by all party members. The impression created that money can be withdrawn from our bank account by one person is clearly misleading. In order to remove money from our account there is always more than the department involved. There is no way one person can withdraw money from our accounts,” said Mr Mwonzora.
Dr Khupe’s camp yesterday convened a virtual national council meeting that among other things tackled the disputed extraordinary congress and its outcome.
Mr Komichi, who reverted to his position as the party chairman, confirmed the meeting but could not give details of the outcome.