Ex-ED aide jailed
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s former top aide Douglas Tapfuma was yesterday slapped with a six-year prison term for abuse of office.
Tapfuma was convicted of three counts of criminal abuse of office following a full trial before Harare regional magistrate Esthere Chivasa. Chivasa suspended two years, leaving Tapfuma with an effective four years behind bars.
Chivasa considered that Tapfuma was a first offender and he had spent 10 months in remand prison since his arrest in July last year, which culminated to pre-trial incarceration, but emphasised that his conduct showed that it was well calculated and a betrayal of his principal Mnangagwa.
She gave an order for the eight motor vehicles that Tapfuma imported using Mnangagwa’s code to be forfeited to the State, including two Toyota Hiaces allegedly bought on behalf of former Zanu PF legislator Vongai Mupereri.
“Corruption remains a challenge to the achievement of democracy and rule of law and I have taken into account that the manner this crime was committed was deliberate and well calculated,” Chivasa said while passing sentence.
“The accused person deceived the highest office of the land and was difficult to detect. This induces a sense of shock. I will take into account the amount of time the accused person spent in pre-trial incarceration, but the property will be forfeited to the State as accused person cannot be seen to benefit from the crime,” Chivasa.
This was after Tapfuma’s lawyer Brighton Pabwe had submitted that his client should be allowed to retain his cars since he bought them using personal funds and should only be ordered to pay outstanding duty that he had evaded by using Mnangagwa’s code.
The State proved that Tapfuma purchased two personal mini buses from South Africa under the guise of government in 2018.
On April 17 the same year, he assigned Bonani Ganyane, an officer in the transport section at State Residences, to go to Beitbridge and facilitate the clearance of the two vehicles, misrepresenting that they were government vehicles.
Ganyane travelled to Beitbridge and after clearing the vehicles, he was instructed to hand them over to Mupereri.