HARARE – A Harare couple has alleged criminal abuse of office and harassment by ex-commissioner of police Oliver Chibage and his top lieutenants in what they alleged was a relentless drive to illegally seize their investments.
This is one of the cases that could have led police commissioner-general, Augustine Chihuri to fire Chibage as it emerges that there are three more top police officers in the firing line over different allegations of corruption.
Some of the officers were said to be using Chihuri’s name to fleece individuals of their money and property.
Loice Shekede alleged Chibage, chief superintendent Joel Tenderere and a retired army major Chademana waged a battle to ensure that the couple was removed from Outdoor Living Centre, a stone and slate miners and purveyors in Msasa.
While Chibage was not picking up his mobile phone yesterday, on Wednesday he strenuously denied the corruption allegations.
“Munhu wa commissioner angaita zvinhu zvakadaro? Ini ndiri busy kuno kugadzira nezve Miss Universities. (Do you think I would do that? I am busy organising the Miss Universities contest),” he said.
Chibage has since been forced to resign pending a corruption probe into his dealings.
In a detailed October 4, 2013 report to Chihuri, Shekede claimed that the police commanders were harassing her to an extent of setting up criminal gangs to harass her.
“Chibage, Tenderere and their gang have deployed several criminals who are illegally occupying my residence, thus making it impossible and unsafe to live there for me and the children,” Shekede claims in the detailed report to Chihuri.
Shekede, through her company Prisgate Trading, operated Outdoor Living Centre in Msasa, at premises she had been leasing from a white couple, Terry and Lorna Rhodes.
“We have not been able to operate our business since the criminal invasion because Chibage, Tenderere and Hwemende (Gedion), a former worker of the white couple and their gang have taken control of the premises by breaking our locks and putting their own, deployed their guards who have chased away our customers and intimidated our employees to leave,” Shekede said in a scathing report to the police boss.
According to documents, Tenderere and his group were also accused of taking over a house next to the company’s premises.
The house was used by the company directors as their residence.
The matter was also taken to court, where High Court judge Hapias Zhou, issued a damning ruling describing Tenderere and his group as greedy people.
“The matter presents a sordid picture of a culture of wanting to reap where persons did not sow,” Justice Zhou said in the damning February 2013 ruling.
Before being taken to Justice Zhou, the matter had also been dealt with by Justice Felistas Chatukuta on September 28, in 2011, who ruled that Tenderere and his group should stop interfering with the operations of the company and that they should cease occupation of both the company premises and the residential property.
But according to Shekede, soon after Justice Chatukuta’s ruling, she was immediately arrested while leaving the High Court.
She was taken to Tenderere’s office where she claims she was threatened.
“On September 28, 2011, they organised my arrest on trumped up theft charges by Sergeant Supurayi of Harare Central CCU as I was leaving the High Court,” the report says.
“He handcuffed me and walked me all the way to Tenderere’s office. I spent one hour being insulted and he threatened to rape me because “you are essentially a prostitute pretending to be a decent housewife, just like a hyena in sheepskin’,” read the report.
“I was held incommunicado for four days at Harare Central Police Station without access to food, my lawyers, family or even breastfeeding eight month-old baby, in violation of the law.”
The report, which according to sources triggered Chibage’s departure among other issues, exposed how “in typical mafia fashion, Chibage, Tenderere and their gang illegally operated”.
To ensure that the police force’s image was protected, Chihuri yesterday dispatched an anti-riot police squad accompanied by senior police officers and the deputy sheriff to evict all tenants at the premises who were brought in by Chibage and Tenderere.
The report further exposed how the top cops “became untouchable by the law to an extent of disobeying court orders”.
“Chibage, Tenderere and their gang also abused their public office by forcibly removing and taking away all the documents belonging to my companies,” Shekede said in her report to Chihuri.
The businesswoman further claimed that Chibage and his team “protected convicted criminals who are fugitives from justice”.
“On November 6, 2011, Hwemende and his workers were caught red handed stealing slate at our mining claims in Chinhoyi,” the report said.
“The matter was dealt by Chinhoyi Magistrate Court under case CRN 876-9/11 and Hwemende and his cohorts were convicted and given a suspended sentence on condition that they restitute me for the slates they had stolen.
“Hwemende failed to comply with the court’s sentence and an arrest warrant was issued against him in July 2012. Police have never bothered to arrest him despite the fact that they know where he lives. He has refused to comply with the court order made by a Harare magistrate to leave my premise because he has been told to stay put by ‘big chef’ Chibage,” the document claims.