After 23 years of enforcing law and order as the country’s top policeman, the tables have been turned against former police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri who is being accused of impounding five cars and later changing ownership into his name while still heading the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).
A Harare businessman, Bigboy Pachirera, is claiming $2 968 000 from Chihuri and his wife for damages incurred consequent to loss of his property that includes a house in Highfield, three heavy duty trucks, a Jeep Cherokee and Mercedes Benz ML 350 Formatic.
Pachirera gave harrowing experiences of how he and his family were subjected to endless torture by members of the police Homicide Department after becoming Chihuri’s “target” in 2013.
“At first, I was accused of theft and put into police custody where I was held for seven days before being brought before a court. They would come (police) holding guns at me and force me into signing affidavits one of which gave Chihuri powers to take my Highfield house valued (at) $50 000,” Pachirera said.
“When I finally appeared in court, I was released because police had over-detained me but they did not stop hunting for me.”
According to Pachirera, in 2014 Chihuri allegedly formulated theft of motor vehicle charges against the businessman and held Pachirera’s wife hostage to induce him to release some of his cars.
“All the cars that they claimed to have been stolen I had personally bought them from Zimoco here in Zimbabwe. They all had records; my Mercedes Benz ML 350 Formatic and Jeep Cherokee and the three trucks I used in my road construction business,” claimed the businessman.
Pachirera is due to file summons claiming the return of property and damages of $2 968 000 from Chihuri and his wife arising from the alleged criminal activities.
In a letter dated December 5, 2017 delivered to Chihuri’s Shawasha residence and private business offices in Alex Park, Harare, Pachirera’s lawyers Mahuni Gidiri law chambers demanded the damages and property to be returned.
“On or about December 22, 2013 you caused the unlawful arrest of our client on allegations of theft. At all material times you knew very well that our client had not committed any offence against you…after his release from custody you ordered the police to harass our client and his family and engaged services of CID Frauds and Homicide to rob and steal our client’s property,” reads the letter.
“You ordered that our client’s several motor vehicles be taken to the Vehicle Theft Squad section for verification of whether or not they had been stolen. You and the police caused the change of name on all the motor vehicles into your name(s) and Kidsdale Enterprises a company owned by you.”
Pachirera claims that he lost business after heavy duty trucks that he used to earn a living were also held and transferred into Chihuri’s ownership.
“Since the time you unlawfully despoiled our client of his property, he has lost business and income in excess of $1, 4 million and also suffered personality infringement in the sum of $1 million.
“The value of the property that you deprived our client amounts to $470 000 and $50 000 for the Highfield home…he was earning $1 000 in rentals from that property and has lost income of $48 000.”
Pachirera’s lawyer Rungano Mahuni claims that no action was taken by Chihuri since receiving that letter and they have resorted to courts for reprieve.
The businessman told the Daily News that he could not speak openly about the issue fearing for his life because of threats that he received from the police over the issue.
“My residence was kept under police surveillance, each time I went out police would follow me. I got to a point where two armed police officers displaying guns roamed about 100 metres from my residence. I think it is because of God’s grace that I am alive today,” Pachirera said.
Chihuri was retired from the ZRP by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last month and was replaced by Godwin Matanga, albeit in an acting capacity.
– Daily News