POLICE commissioner in charge of Matabeleland North province Erasmus Makodza’s lawyers have written to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) chairperson Loice Matanda Moyo to remove investigating officer Eric Chacha from the ongoing investigations, citing a corrupt relationship with bogus land baron Felix Munyaradzi.
According to a letter gleaned by The NewsHawks, Makodza’s lawyers say there is ample evidence to prove that Munyaradzi and Chacha had communicated between December 2020 and February 2021.
“Our client also advises that incidentally on the day of this arrest Felix Munyaradzi and Eric Chacha spoke to each other for close to a minute. It is our contention that Eric Chacha disclosed information regarding his investigation against our client to Felix Munyaradzi,” the letter reads.
The lawyers further argue that: “Our client takes this view because Felix Munyaradzi warned an acquaintance of our client that he (Commissioner Makodza) would soon be arrested which subsequently happened. The only person to disclose such information could only be Eric Chacha.”
Makodza, who has deal with many high-profile corruption cases himself, accused Chacha of getting him arrested in January in a bid to rescue his close friend Munyaradzi, a controversial land baron who is Delatfin Properties director, in a court battle with him after he was swindled US$40 000 cash in a botched residential stand deal in Sandton Park, Mt Hampden, just outside Harare.
Makodza’s lawyers say Chacha abused his office by disclosing information regarding an investigation of a public official.
“Our client is aggrieved at the fact that Eric Chacha violated the Official Secrets Act and abused his authority as a public officer by disclosing information regarding an investigation of a Senior Public Official,” reads the letter.
In the latest letter of complaint dated 21 April, Makodza’s lawyer Tapiwa Makanza also alleges that Constable Fortunate Dube, stationed in Marondera and married to Chacha, has been receiving financial and material benefits from Munyaradzi, who is involved in the US$40 000 fraud court case in which his client is the complainant.
“In addition , we have also made a complaint on behalf of our client against Fortunate Dube, attested police officer who has been receiving EcoCash payments from Felix Munyaradzi. Fortunate Dube is Eric Chacha’s wife. Our client believes that she is dealing corruptly with Felix Munyaradzi or that she is simply a conduit for Eric Chacha to receive money from Felix Munayaradzi,” further reads the complaint.
“In that regard, our client requests that he be recused from the investigation.”
Makodza has an illustrious record as a top cop who has arrested a number of high-profile Zimbabweans, including the ENG Capital founders Nyasha Watyoka and Gilbert Muponda, flamboyant businessman Wicknell Chivayo and Zesa directors, among others, in many big cases he has dealt with.
After driving from Hwange, where he is based, via Bulawayo en route Harare on 30 January and 31 January, arriving in the capital later that day, Makodza was arrested after an interview with Zacc on 1 February.
News of his arrest was leaked to the media while the interview was still going on.
Eric Chacha was in action and secured the detention of the decorated policeman at Mabelreign police station in Harare. The following day, 2 February, Makodza was out on bail.
Chacha was reportedly beside himself with rage. His behaviour at Harare’s Rotten Row magistrates’ court during the case was described by witnesses as apoplectic — spitting mad. He could not imagine his big catch wriggling off the hook just like that.
Makodza was arrested on charges of criminal abuse of office for allegedly structuring a deal for his girlfriend Mawonei Chapfudza to enter into a farming joint venture with police over Lendy Farm in Marondera in 2019.
And now it is Chacha’s turn to be roasted and arraigned.
Makodza has reported Chacha to the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (Sacu) in the President’s Office for abuse of office — a similar charge to his — over a court case in which his notorious land baron friend Felix Munyaradzi defrauded the top cop US$40 000.
The case risks discrediting Zacc, which has been making noise about fighting corruption, although it has clearly failed so far to investigate high-profile corrupt cartels around President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
On other cases, besides ruffling the feathers of bigwigs, Zacc has done well.
Zacc says in 2020 it managed to complete 90 dockets for prosecution against a target of 80. Out of that, 29 of the dockets are at trial stage, with 15 having trial dates already.
Chacha is accused of getting Makodza who, as police commissioner in charge of Matabeleland North province, is in the third tier of police command after the police commissioner-general and his deputies, arrested in a bid to rescue Munyaradzi, a controversial land baron who is Delatfin Properties director, in a court battle with the senior policeman who was swindled US$40 000 cash in a residential stand deal in Sandton Park, Mt Hampden, just outside Harare.
Munyaradzi was arrested for duping several people, including controversial business dealer Delish Nguwaya, an Epworth schoolteacher Maria Gabaza, Harare man Ronald Dondo and Makodza in the dodgy residential stands deal.
He is currently out on bail.
At one time Munyaradzi was said to have given former minister Ignatius Chombo, who spent many years in charge of Local Government during the late ex-president Robert Mugabe’s era, 125 stands for resolving his dispute with other Zvimba developers.
Makodza says Chacha got him arrested out of personal interest as he is a friend to Munyaradzi. Makodza and Munyaradzi are locked in a court battle over the US$40 000 stand. The matter is before the courts and has been set down for 24 February – next Wednesday.
The policeman says Chacha got him detained at Munyaradzi’s behest in a bid to stall the court case, which he charges is an abuse of office and an attempt to obstruct the course of justice.
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