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Chihuri defends “unjust” US$32 mln assets forfeiture

Courts Reporter

FORMER Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Augustine Chihuri has approached the courts seeking to overturn the move forefeit his assets as he argues that there are no links between acquisitions and corrupting allegations.

He argued that he acquired his vast wealth legally and legitimately since he was gainfully employed.

He said it was naïve for the State to suggest he obtained the assets now targeted for forfeiture from corruption.

The former police boss, currently exiled in Malawi following the 2017 coup that toppled the late former President Robert Mugabe, is accused of syphoning state funds amounting US$32 million.

The trial in the matter commenced before High Court judge, Pisirayi Kwenda and Chihuri is represented by Addington Chinake.

Chinake said affidavits before the court against his client were tendered by officers who were not in the service at the time the offence as allegedly committed.

“They actually have no personal knowledge,” he said.

“The current commissioner general Matanga himself is the one who dealt with the first applicant (Chihuri). He has not furnished the court with any allegations the court cannot go by hearsay,” submitted Chinake.

The lawyer added: “The court doesn’t balance the interests of the applicants in assets that they say were illegitimately acquired…they cannot be mass forfeiture which is essentially what this case is about.”

“It’s about mass forfeiture, unconnected, unproven just following mere allegations. There has been no regards to the working history and businesses of the applicant. The applicant is seeking its discharge principally on the basis that it’s an unconstitutional order where there was no right to be heard right to the administrative of justice.”

Chinake said Chihuri has always been gainfully employed, having rose through the ranks in the police force before graduating into senior service following his contribution in the liberation struggle.

He said he is not a dubious character.

“He is not a dubious character who suddenly woke up to amass such wealth. It’s painful for example that the applicant being a beneficiary of the land reform programme was also a farmer producing maize which he sold to GMB.”

“However, after the November 2017 events his maize would not be accepted by the state so the applicant cannot be said to have obtained money or generated money through improper or elicit means when in fact he has chronicled before this court full details of how he was engaged in banana farming, maize farming which was sold for profit,” he said.

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