FINANCE deputy minister Terence Mukupe was recently arrested and fined for assaulting his ministry’s finance director, 58-year-old Ignatius Mvere, for allegedly giving him a “paltry $910 travel allowance”.
The incident, according to police documents shown to NewsDay, happened on March 29 this year, shortly after Mukupe had returned from a three-day Sadc business trip to South Africa.
Upon his arrest, Mukupe paid an admission of guilt fine of $30 on April 10 at Harare Central Police Station and was issued with a ticket in the Z69J book number 1308983B.
The matter, which was recorded under CID Law and Order Harare Central CR 2321/03/18, happened at the New Government Complex when an angry Mukupe stormed Mvere’s office, demanding an upward review of his allowances against Treasury circular standing orders.
“On the day in question, the accused came to my office, complaining about insufficient funds allocated to him and ended up assaulting me,” Mvere wrote in his affidavit to police.
“Prior to this incident on March 25, the accused travelled to South Africa on business attending Sadc meetings and returned on March 28. According to our Treasury circular, I had given him $910, but he insisted I must give him more than that. I could not give him more money since he had no reasonable grounds or a letter from the Minister of Finance authorising me to pay him more than what us on the Treasury circular.”
It is also understood that the deputy minister hurled insults to Mvere, saying: “You are very stupid, why did you give me less money while travelling to South Africa”, before getting closer and clasped his neck and pushed him against the computer table.
Mvere added: “I recall on March 29, 2018, at around 0745hrs, I reported for duty to my office as usual. At around 1230hrs, while in the office together with Garikai Mukombero who is the human resources assistant in the ministry, the accused Terence Mukupe, banged my door and entered into my office. His face looked angry. I immediately stood up from my chair and greeted him, but he did not answer. He moved towards me and I tried to move back but there was no way out.”
According to the police records, Mukupe grabbed his victim by the collar and banged his head on the computer desk before Mvere’s workmates, human resources director, Stewart Jailos, Mukombero and his aide William Gondo intervened and stopped the fight.
Jailos corroborated Mvere’s narrative in a separate affidavit, saying: “Mukombero appeared at my door shouting in haste that the deputy minister was choking and beating up Mvere in his office. I immediately ran to Mvere’s office whereupon I saw accused Mukupe’s hands clasped on Mvere’s neck almost chocking him at the same time breathing a barrage of threats while Mvere was also trying to free himself.”
Mukupe reportedly only released his grip after Jailos “moved forward to intervene physically” while a crowd of workers, including the deputy minister’s aide William Gondo, were gathered by the door at Mvere’s office.
The deputy minister then reportedly pulled out a hotel receipt which he “ditched on the table”, ordering Mvere to pay it or “face serious consequences”.
“I noticed that Mvere was shrivelled, visibly-shaken and terrified after being manhandled by accused. Documents were strewn all over the desktop computer and printers in his office were displaced with cables uprooted from wall sockets,” Jailos said.