Businessman recorded coaxing key Gandawa case witness

Source: Businessman recorded coaxing key Gandawa case witness | The Herald January 31, 2017

Fungai Lupande Court Reporter—-

A 33-year-old businessman accused of intimidating a key witness in Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Deputy Minister Godfrey Gandawa’s criminal abuse of duty case was recorded coaxing him to withdraw the matter.

The businessman, Malvern Chimutashu allegedly created a withdrawal affidavit purporting that the key witness Walter Charasa made a false report against Dr Gandawa at the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc).

Chimutashu yesterday did not dispute the existence of the audio recording. He was answering questions during cross-examination in his application for referral to the Constitutional Court.

“What was the conversation between you and Chasara that led to your arrest?” asked the prosecutor Mr Michael Reza.

“I cannot mention it at this juncture because we talked about a lot of things,” replied Chimutashu.

Mr Reza asked Chimutashu how he was entrapped by Zacc.

“It’s premature for me to comment on that,” said Chimutashu.

“Stop ducking and diving. Explain how you were trapped,” said Mr Reza.

Chimutashu told the court that he had no explanation.

Mr Reza submitted that the section of the Constitution quoted by Chimutashu in his application was improper. “Section 167 (5) he quoted applies to direct access to the Concourt, the correct section is 175 (4),” said Mr Reza.

“The application is frivolous and vexatious, the accused refused to answer critical question.”

In response, Chimutashu said the prosecutor was the one who was being frivolous by trying to vex the court with terminology.

Chimutashu is represented by his lawyer Mr Clemence Ngweshiwa. The presiding magistrate Mr Lazini Ncube will make a ruling on February 2.

The case against Gandawa involves misappropriation of funds at the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef). Mr Reza alleged that on July 27 last year, Chasara reported Gandawa at the Zacc for fraud.

It is alleged that between the end of July to September 7 2016, Chimutashu met Chasara during investigations and persuaded him to withdraw the charge.

Chimutashu allegedly crafted an affidavit in Chasara’s name purporting that he had made a false report to Zacc. The affidavit dissociated Chasara from being a key witness and it indicated that he was coerced to make a report after being promised money.

On September 6, 2016 Chasara reported Chimutashu to Zacc.

Chimutashu was arrested at Avondale Shopping Centre in Harare the following day while handing Chasara the affidavit.

Chimutashu was arrested by officers from ZRP and Zacc.

The alleged affidavit statement was recovered from Chasara.