BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
A clique of senior police officers allegedly helped themselves to cars that were impounded from motorists with most of the vehicles ending up at an auction business owned by Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga’s former father-in-law.
So far 50 vehicles that were allegedly stolen by the police chiefs through an elaborate scheme have been recovered in a scandal that is said to involve millions of dollars.
The scandal is exposed in court papers where a close ally of former police commissioner general Augustine Chihuri, former senior assistant commissioner and chief of staff officer – transport and logistics department, Robert Masukusa, has been summoned to court on charges of theft of state property, including impounded vehicles.
Masukusa was responsible for overseeing all the operations of the transport and logistics that involved purchasing, repairing, conducting boards of surveys and keeping records of the ZRP vehicle fleet.
He is charged alongside Vusimuzi Ncube (55), a former officer-in-charge administration and records at the Police General Headquarter’s transport and logistics.
They allegedly stole the vehicles between 2012 and 2013. The vehicles were allegedly sold at Ken Mubaiwa’s KM Auction (Pvt) Ltd, court documents show.
Mubaiwa is the father of Marry Mubaiwa, who was married to Chiwenga.
“On different dates, Masukusa, Ncube and Chihuri connived to steal the state property from ZRP by taking and selling all the vehicles to different identified beneficiaries without the authority of the treasury,” the documents read in part.
“The accused persons will be recommending the disposal of the vehicles through KM Auctions (Pvt) Ltd and Chihuri, the former commissioner general of police who is still at large, who will be approving the disposal.
“The vehicles were later registered in the name of the beneficiaries with no receipts of purchase of KM Auction.”
It is alleged that Masukusa and Ncube would recommend the disposal of the vehicles through KM Auction (Pvt) Ltd and Chihuri would be approving the disposal.
This was also in violation of standing procedures where authority to dispose of the assets must have been sought from the Home Affairs and Finance ministry.
“The property can be disposed of in the form of donation, burn, and bury sale by public auction.
“All the state property disposed of by public auction, the monies from such sale should be deposited into an Exchanguer account,” the court papers added.
“Furthermore, if the ZRP have found it fit to incorporate the vehicles into ZRP fleet they must write a request through the secretary of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to Treasury for consideration, once the permission is granted the vehicles will be registered in the name of ZRP and eventually in the master asset register of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage.
“Contrary to the aforementioned laid down procedures for the disposal of state property, the accused persons did not carry out boards of surveys, no recommendations from Treasury to dispose of the vehicles mentioned.
“The vehicles were purportedly disposed of through auction sale carried out by Km Auction without engaging the treasury.
“The proceeds of sales of the vehicles sold were not deposited into the state assets disposal account maintained by the Ministry of Finance.”
The alleged theft of the impounded vehicles only came to light after a ZRP audit of forfeited assets.
About 50 vehicles have been recovered to date from the beneficiaries of the scam.
Chihuri is also accused of siphoning over US$25 million of state funds during his 25-year reign, benefiting his family and inner circle.
The state has been trying to seize some of his properties as well as to recover US$32million obtained through the alleged corrupt practices.
But Chihuri has denied looting state funds.
After fleeing, Zimbabwe Chihuri sold some of the vast properties without the knowledge of the state.
Some of his properties include a magnificent mansion in Gletwyn comprising 16 bedrooms all en-suite, seven lounges, nine garages, a helipad and fishing dam all sitting on a 12ha of land valued at US$7 million.
Chihuri fled Zimbabwe after the coup that toppled long time ruler Robert Mugabe in 2017.