Former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko ran away from meeting with the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) on Monday for fear of being poisoned once in police custody.
Mphoko was scheduled to appear at the Bulawayo Magistrate’s Court on corruption allegations and had given assurances that he would attend, according to ZACC spokesman John Makamure.
The ex-VP’s lawyer, Zibusiso Ncube told the Voice of America’s Studio 7 that his client had agreed to meet ZACC officials at a neutral venue, that is at the court.
However, on arrival, ZACC officials told him that Mphoko had to present himself at the Bulawayo Central Police Station to sign his “warned and cautioned” statement. Said Ncube:
That was a dramatic shift. One does not need to go to a police station to sign a warned and cautioned statement. The client was already concerned, he fears that these people want to kill him.
I must emphasise that the client has no fear of going to court. We are prepared to have a trial if we are given the charge sheet, even tomorrow we are ready.
We told ZACC we are ready. If it’s justice they really seek, we told them so let’s get in court and conduct the trial.
All they need to do is summon us and say your trial starts on such-such a day and we will be there, whether in Harare or Bulawayo.
The client fears that if he leaves the court, and he is in cells – whether prison cells, court cells or police cells – they will inject him with poison. That’s his fear.
Mphoko is being charged with obstruction of justice and criminal abuse of office after he allegedly forced police officers at Harare’s Avondale Police Station to release a ZINARA official in 2016.