Police investigations into alleged illegal deals involving former vice President Joice Mujuru have hit a brick wall.
A senior Criminal Investigations Department (CID) officer based at the Police General headquarters (PGHQ) said despite garnering “volumes” of documents, there was no evidence linking Mujuru to any crime.
President Robert Mugabe’s former deputy has insisted she is innocent and dared investigators to find incriminating proof against her. “This case seems to be dying a natural death. There is no more excitement around it because investigations carried out so far have failed to pin anything on Mujuru,” said the source.
He confirmed that a high level team of detectives led by Chief Superintendent Luckson Mukazhi had raided companies suspected to have dealt with Mujuru and “came back with volumes of documents that do not link the former VP to any crime.”
Mugabe’s government indicated that Mujuru could be guilty of abuse of office and corruption in alleged deals with various companies. Police obtained search warrants from the courts to look for information that could be used against Mujuru at several organisations, including the state-controlled Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and Dolson Investments.
The state was alleging that Mujuru used her position to import and claim several tonnes of maize via GMB “under unclear circumstances”.
Chickens from Brazil
It also accused her of forcing the permanent secretary of agriculture, Ringson Chitsiko, to issue her family business with a permit to import chickens from Brazil – even though there was a government ban against such importations. She allegedly donated some of the chickens to the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) as a way of currying favour with the military.
In October last year, Mujuru was accused of receiving thousands of dollars in illegal cash payments from some Indian and Kenyan financiers who had invested in the Mujuru family’s duty free business, International Travel Shops, at the Harare International Airport.
She was also accused of un-procedurally elbowing out the investors who had reportedly invested around $1million in the business. Mujuru, however, did not appear on company documents as either a director or shareholder. “The army guys are denying receiving anything from Mujuru,” said the source.
This is despite the fact that the army commander, Constantine Chiwenga, has been linked to the faction led by Emmerson Mnangagwa who has been locked in a fierce battle with Mujuru to succeed Mugabe.
“After raiding the companies in Harare and Bulawayo, investigating officers approached the prosecutor general’s office for advice but they were told that there was no basis on which to proceed with prosecution,” added the source.
In January, reports indicated that Mujuru would be arrested soon but, according to the police officer, senior officers hardly talk about the case now. This contrasts with several months ago when the investigations started and there were regular meetings among investigators and other senior officers.
Critics say the attempt to arrest Mujuru is part of a political strategy to victimise and instil fear in her. Mugabe has on numerous occasions used arrests and imprisonment as part of his plot to deal with foes in and outside the party.
Two of Mujuru’s alleged allies, Temba Mliswa and Jabulani Sibanda, were recently arrested and are out on bail. Mliswa, a former Zanu (PF) MP and provincial chairperson for Mashonaland West, was recently accused of caching arms, while Sibanda, who was removed as war veterans leader, was arrested last year after accusing the Mugabe family of a “bedroom coup” for the imposition of Grace in party structures.
Another key Mujuru ally, Didymus Mutasa, is currently being probed for corruption and the illegal acquisition of farms.
In 2002, just before the presidential elections, security agents arrested Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC president, on allegations of treason but he was subsequently acquitted.
Other high profile politicians who have been imprisoned but later set free since independence in 1980 include Abel Muzorewa, Ndabaningi Sithole, Joshua Nkomo, Dumiso Dabengwa and Lookout Masuku.
Security agencies have also in the past arrested, tortured and imprisoned human rights defenders, journalists and critics.
Mujuru was not reachable on her mobile phone. Charity Charamba, the police spokesperson, would not comment, saying: “I am busy.”