THREE senior Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services (ZPCS) officers have been arrested on charges of engaging in a chicken project with jailed rapist and former senior Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe official Munyaradzi Kereke.
The trio are being charged for their links with Humanity Earth Trust founded by Kereke.
Senior assistant commissioner Norbert Chomurenga, chief correctional officer Cephas Chiparausha and assistant commissioner Tonderai Mutiwaringa were all not asked to plead when they appeared before Harare magistrate Learnmore Mapiye last Friday, facing charges of criminal abuse of duty as public officers.
They were all remanded out of custody on $100 bail each.
Prosecutors said the three men also gave preferential treatment to Kereke in the form of allowing unscheduled visits from his relatives, enjoying extra free time compared to other prisoners and not allowing him to carry out any manual work in terms of set-out procedures.
Allegations against Chomurenga (58), Chiparausha (43) and Mutiwaringa (56) are that during the period extending from September 25 to August 2018, Chomurenga was the officer-in-charge at Chikurubi Maximum Prison being deputised by Mutiwaringa, while Chiparausha was the head of security.
After Kereke was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in July 2016, he was committed to Chikurubi Maximum Prison under prison number 594/16 where he then met the three top prison officers.
On September 25, 2017, it is alleged Chomurenga and Chiparausha, who were acting in connivance with Mutiwaringa, in their personal capacities, entered into a memorandum of understanding with Humanity Earth Trust.
Prosecutors said the manner in which the contract was signed was inconsistent with how ZPCS enters into contracts and it was unknown to ZPCS commissioner-general Paradzai Zimondi.
They said during the period extending from September 25, 2017 to August 2018, Humanity Earth Trust provided a total of 3 000 birds, feed, medication and other sanitary requirements for the chicken-rearing project.
The three accused, as part of the agreement, provided space and labour in the form of prisoners, but for their personal benefit.
When the chickens were being sold, the customers paid money into Chiparausha’s EcoCash number 0773 834 712 and in the end his account was credited with a total of $8 282.
In December 2017, Mutiwaringa, who took over as officer-in-charge after the promotion and transfer of Chomurenga, received $2 252 from Chiparausha through his EcoCash number 0772812662 being project proceeds.
— The Standard