POLICE commissioner-general Godwin Matanga’s name has been dragged into an unlawful entry and theft case involving US$152 000 in cash and valuables, pitting prominent corporate executive Grace Muradzikwa and flamboyant socialite Luminitsa Kimberly Jemwa, amid fears of name-dropping and obstruction of the course of justice.
Those involved in the case say Muradzikwa has been using Matanga’s name to intimidate Jemwa, who is fighting with the corporate executive’s son Kundai, accused of unlawful entry into his family tenant — Jemwa’s home — and stealing US$32 000 in cash and valuables amounting to US$120 000.
According to court papers, early this month, Kundai Muradzikwa, son to Insurance and Pension Commission (Ipec) commissioner Grace Muradzikwa, who was Nicoz Diamond managing director, allegedly gained unlawful entry into their tenant, Jemwa’s house at N0. 4 Quinnington Road in Borrowdale Brooke, an upmarket housing estate in Harare’s northern suburbs, after forcing her maid to vacate the premises over delayed payment of rentals of US$1 700 per month.
Jemwa — who is based in Johannesburg, South Africa — had promised to pay the rent in cash upon her return to back to Harare, which she did.
However, before Jemwa’s return, Kundai had allegedly forced out her maid, seized the keys and gained illegal entry into the house and stole US$32 000, designer handbags and jewellery — personal ornaments such as necklaces, rings and bracelets — amounting to US$120 000.
After that, Kundai then called Jemwa, claiming her maid had stolen her goods and left without telling her. Jemwa, top local footballer Nyasha Mushekwi’s former wife, who is now a businesswoman, rushed back to Harare and found her money and valuables gone. In the company of relatives, she went for a surprise visit to her maid Musodzi Pafiwa’s home in Domboshava, only to find that there was nothing to suggest she had stolen money, as her home did not even have groceries. Jemwa then got both Kundai and her maid arrested, even though she had not found anything at her helper’s home.
The maid told Jemwa that Kundai had forced her out and took control of the house keys. It is alleged that once he got the keys, Kundai unlawfully entered Jemwa’s rented property and made off with US$32 000, four pairs of designer shoes for men, three pairs of designer shoes for women, bags and tracksuits, two diamond-encrusted Rolex wrist watches, as well as one pair of diamond earrings, among other things.
However, no sooner had Kundai been arrested than his mother Grace Muradzikwa, a prominent insurance industry executive, started allegedly interfering with police and investigating officers, saying she was well-connected, as she knew Matanga and had “immunity” from the law. She allegedly claimed her son also had “immunity”.
After the interference and intimidation directed at Jemwa and police, she allegedly got her son released from custody unlawfully, while the maid remained detained.
Police officers indicated they were unable to proceed because of Muradzikwa’s interference and name-dropping. Grace is married to veteran journalist and Zimbabwe Media Commissioner member Henry Muradzikwa. She claimed because she and her husband were commissioners, their son could not be arrested.
It is alleged that Grace even tried to stop police from taking her son to court, citing her claimed contacts with Matanga and other powerful people. There were even claims that the Office of the President and Cabinet was involved on her side.
But Kundai was taken to court and remanded to 15 November.
“The accused person, Kundai Muradzikwa, seized the keys from the maid and ordered the maid to vacate the premises because her boss had delayed paying rent by six days in the absence of the complainant and the accused person unlawfully entered the complainant’s home without her knowledge or approval and stole complainant’s money amounting to US$32 000 cash, two Rolex watches, gold and diamond jewellery, clothes and bags valued at US$152 000,” Nomatter Magaba, an investigating officer handling the case, wrote.
“Witness statement confirming that the accused person ordered the maid to vacate the place and handover the keys to him. Accused person was in possession of complainant’s household keys during the time in which the money was stolen and . . . the accused person entered the complaint’s bedroom where the money was and took photographs and sent to the complainant, saying you can check your maid might have stolen some items from you.
“The accused’s mother (Grace Muradzikwa) already interrupted the investigations by influencing the release of the accused person from the cells in the night well after the release time had passed. Since then, the accused’s mother prevented us from carrying searches at his place of residence and influenced by being released from police custody within 2 hours of detention.
“The accused persons are facing serious offences, which if convicted, will face a jail sentence and the state has a strong case against this accused person, since he is the only person who entered the complainant’s house and it is proved through investigation that the crime was carried out by the accused person, since there is no break-in which took place.”
Additional information also indicates that the dockets went missing, not once, but twice, due to interference by Muradzikwa, after she threatened to rope in Matanga. And the release of Kundai from police cells hours after the arrest remains a mystery after calls were allegedly made by Muradzikwa to higher offices.
Asked about her purported links to Matanga, interference or possible name-dropping, Grace Muradzikwa, who was attending a meeting at the time, decline to comment. “As you might be aware, I’m in a meeting and I don’t think I can comment because the matter is before the courts. You said which paper are you from?” she asked.
Matanga’s phone went unanswered. However, we sent him a WhatsApp message, seeking clarity on the issue, but did not get a reply at the time of writing.
Jemwa, who is back in Johannesburg for now, said she could not comment as the matter was still sub judice.