Harare – Former Vice President, Phekezela Mphoko faces imminent arrest for defeating the course of justice after he abused his power as the then acting president and released the Ex- Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) acting chief executive officer Moses Juma and non-executive director Davison Norupiri from police custody in 2016, who had been arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) on allegations of defrauding the parastatal of US$1,3 million, the Mail and Telegraph can reveal.
This development comes on the backdrop of the conviction of Juma who was sentenced to two years in prison on Tuesday for criminal abuse of office.
Government sources said Mphoko is likely to be picked up for questioning over his role in the release of Juma and Norupiri in 2016.
“He personally went to Avondale Police station and ordered their release,” the source said adding: “He even caused a scene at the police station after threatening to beat up the officers who wanted him to follow due process.”
Mphoko stormed Avondale Police station
In a move which bordered on abuse of office Mphoko, who was acting president at the material time stormed the Avondale Police station and ordered the immediate release of Juma and Norupiri. Former president Robert Mugabe was in Kigali, Rwanda, for the African Union summit.
Sources said soon after their release the duo accompanied Mphoko to his Rainbow hotel room where they stayed for the whole week as ZACC threatened to apprehend the duo.
ZACC had secured the arrest of the two ZINARA bosses under docket number RR08/05/16. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) charged them for allegedly defrauding the parastatal of US$1 294 575,76.
Mphoko is said to have ordered the release of the duo and told the police officers that he was not a vice-president of a co-operative or burial society but the country.
ZACC investigates Mphoko
ZACC sources, this week, said investigations on Mphoko over his links with Juma and Norupiri commenced in 2016 but were halted after the then President Robert Mugabe intervened and accused ZACC of acting on the instructions of the then vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa to pursue his political enemies.
Sources said Mphoko was issued with fuel coupons worth US$20 000 by Juma and the coupons found their way into the market.
“The coupons were sold in Bulawayo and were traced back to ZINARA,” the source said.
“ZACC investigations are pointing to Mphoko who was given the coupons as a donation by Juma. This is why he has been protecting the Ex-ZINARA bosses from prosecution.”
The ZACC investigation is also being handled by the Special Anti-Corruption Unit in the Office of the President and Cabinet which is said to be poring through tons of documentary evidence which could be used to prosecute cases of grand corruption, with some bigwigs facing arraignment before the courts.
The crack unit, established by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to improve efficiency in prosecuting graft cases, was operationalised is reportedly combing through evidence provided by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC).
Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi could neither confirm nor deny that police was keen to question Mphoko.
“Can you call me around 3pm so that I can provide you with the correct details pertaining to the case,” Nyathi said.
ZACC investigative head, Goodson Nguni, said he was not in the office and would comment on the issue on an appropriate time.