Ex-minister’s PA denied bail


FORMER health minister Obadiah Moyo’s personal assistant, accused of facilitating the granting of visas to businessman Ali Mohamad and his family claiming he was a consultant of the ministry, has been denied bail.

Gideon Mapokotera, who allegedly wrote to the Immigration Department saying Mohamad had been invited for partnerships with the ministry resulting in the granting of the visas, appeared in court on Friday on allegations of criminal abuse of office.

He was denied bail by Harare magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guuriro after the State successfully opposed granting bail, arguing he was a flight risk.

Allegations against Mapokotera are that on June 18, 2019, he wrote a visa application to the principal immigration officer for a single-entry visa on behalf of Mohamad.

He allegedly indicated that Mohamad had been invited to establish an undisclosed business partnership with the Health ministry.

It is alleged that on the strength of the letter, Mohamad was issued a single-entry visa into the country. Claims are that the letter was not copied to then Health minister Moyo and permanent secretary Agnes Mahomva.

It is further alleged that on September 26, 2019, Mapokotera again wrote a visa application letter to immigration requesting that Mohamad be granted multiple entry visa for six months on the guise that he had been invited by the Health ministry for a partnership.

It is alleged this was also done without Moyo and Mahomva’s knowledge. The State alleges that the visa was granted on the strength of the letter.

Further allegations are that on November 24, 2019, Mapokotera allegedly wrote another letter to immigration requesting that seven members of Mohamad’s family be granted multiple entry visas into the country on the pretext that he was a consultant with the ministry.

It is alleged that at the time of writing the letter, Mohamad was not a consultant of the ministry and his status did not qualify him to have his family issued with visas to travel to the country.

Once again, the letter was not copied to Mapokotera’s seniors. Moyo and Mahomva only became aware of the letters on November 25 when an investigation into the matter was launched.

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