TWO Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) officers who are accused of extorting a Chinese businessman were in court yesterday where they filed an application challenging their arrest.
The two, Patrick Badza, 46, and Chester Matsvimbo were not asked to plead when they appeared before Harare regional magistrate Esteri Chivasa.
Badza and Matsvimbo are employed by the President’s Office as senior programmes manager and programmes manager respectively.
It is the State’s case that this year, Live Touch Private Limited, where the complainant Kyle Dongchaun Wang is the managing director, started an expansion drive into mining of limestone, which is a major component in cement production and technical experts were to be outsourced from China.
Between March and April, Wang submitted Temporary Employment Permits (TEP) applications to the Immigration Department for 33 Chinese technical experts. The Immigration Department further submitted the applications to the Committee on Foreign Recruitment to deliberate and process them, the court heard.
The committee comprises chairperson Tore from the Ministry of Public Service, Isaac Mwandiwanzira from the Ministry of Mines,
Prosper Mapara from the Ministry of Industry of Commerce, Mudzingwa from the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education and Virginia
Chikuni from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The court heard that on April 21, the Committee made a site visit at Live Touch Mine in
Kwekwe and was shown how the mine is operated by Junior Zigora; the operations officer. After the tour, they had a meeting with Zigora and promised to review the TEPs by May 19.
On May 14, Zigora received a call from Badza who stated he that he was from the President’s Office and wanted details of the person who was responsible for the TEP applications and he was referred to Wang after soliciting a reward of consideration for him to make favourable recommendations for the TEP applications.
Wang reported the case to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and a trap was organised.
On May 18, Badza contacted Wang and they agreed to meet at Holiday Inn and during the meeting, he asked for US$300 on each of the applications, making it a total US$9 900. He also stated that all the TEPs were in his office waiting for approval and recommendations to the committee.
Wang promised to give him US$3500 and the balance was to be paid after the issuance of the TEPs.
Wang handed over the money to Badza, who was with Matsvimbo at a restaurant in Borrowdale, while six ZACC officials were observing the transaction from a distance and they were arrested.
Netsai Mushayabasa appeared for the State.