FULL TEXT: Masango’s Letter Of Complaint Against ZACC Boss, Loice Matanda-Moyo

4th March 2021

Attention: Police Anti-Corruption Unit (PACU)

Dear Sir

I am presently on trial before the Magistrates Court at Harare on charges of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer as defined in section 174 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23]. These charges were preferred against me pursuant to “an investigation” carried out by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) which itself was ostensibly acting on a “tip-off” it received from one Peter Bwanya.

Having looked at the documentary evidence placed before the Magistrates Court against me and listened to the testimony of the attesting witnesses, I am convinced that both the investigation and the subsequent criminal charges against me are clearly a culmination of gross abuse of duty by the Chairperson of ZACC as well as by Eric Chacha, the investigating officer in the matter.

With this letter, I hereby lodge an official complaint of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer against the Honourable Mrs Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo and Mr Eric Chacha. The principal bases for my complaint are set out in greater detail hereunder.

  1. Sometime in February of 2020, one Peter Bwanya who was then the Chief Accountant in the Civil Registry Department authored a minute to the Secretary of Home affairs in which he levelled against me “a plethora of allegations” among them were allegations of unprocedural, unauthorised and fraudulent procurement of vehicles for the Civil Registry Department. I attach hereto Peter Bwanya’s aforementioned minute dated 13 February 2020 and I mark it Annexure “A”. I am presently unaware of the outcome of these allegations against me.
  2. After a meeting with the Secretary for Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Mr Aaron Nhepera on the matter, I was instructed to and did submit a written response to the said allegations. I attach hereto marked Annexure “B” a copy of my response. In my response, I requested, among other things, that the whole matter be investigated and I also undertook to avail myself for and cooperate with that exercise.  I also recommended and requested that a forensic audit be executed in order to comprehensively and transparently examine and resolve the issues arising out of Mr Bwanya’s allegations against me. At the time of authoring this letter and to the best of my knowledge, no such audit has yet been carried out.
  3. I did not receive any response or feedback of any nature to my written response, and on the 23rd of April 2020, Mr Eric Chacha and four others attended at my office armed with a warrant of search and seizure, a copy of which I have attached hereto as Annexure “C”. After a lengthy meeting with me, Eric Chacha and his team seized/impounded vehicles Ford AEX 4445 and Mazda REG 4251 claiming that same were to be used as exhibits in criminal proceedings that were pending against me. I advised both the Secretary and Honourable Minister of Home Affairs and Cultrural Heritage, Cde Kazembe Kazembe of this development who both professed ignorance and expressed shock over same. I followed this with a written complaint against the conduct of Eric Chacha and his team while at my office, addressed to the Secretary and copied to the Chairperson of ZACC. A copy of my complaint is attached hereto as Annexure “D”.
  4. In my letter of complaint, I categorically denied any wrongdoing and highlighted how Peter Bwanya was deliberately misrepresenting facts for the purposes of diverting the authorities’ attention from the disciplinary action that was pending against him. I also registered my concerns and reservations with individual members of ZACC, especially Eric Chacha who was not behaving professionally and was abusing his office and position to the personal benefit of Peter Bwanya. It appeared to me that Peter Bwanya and Eric Chacha were in league and had established some form of alliance against me. Needless to say, this complaint ought to have alerted the Chairperson of ZACC about the unprofessional manner in which her officer was conducting himself. My written complaint was however neither responded to nor even acknowledged by the said Chairperson.
  5. On the 6th of May 2020 at about 1315hrs, Eric Chacha, accompanied by three others, literally broke into my office, arrested me and took me to their offices in Strathaven, Harare. Throughout the arrest, Mr Chacha et al did not allow me the opportunity to call my lawyer as I am entitled to do by law. Furthermore, I did not understand the reason for their violent, disorderly and bullish behaviour toward me. I did not resist their orders neither did I give them any cause to treat me in the manner they did. I cooperated fully and complied with their instructions. There is no doubt in my mind that their conduct on the day was calculated to demean and embarrass me in front of my subordinates and onlookers and to cause me discomfort for no legitimate reason.
  6. I made it clear to them that they were being misled by Peter Bwanya into fighting for him a personal war with me. I also enquired from them why they were doing this without the participation of and reference to the Accounting Officer of the Ministry to whom I was accountable, considering that these allegations were premised on the administration of my duties as a public officer. Their response to my enquiry was as dismissive as it was contemptuous.
  7. Upon arriving at their offices, the team was joined by five other members. While there, Eric Chacha and his team sought to interrogate me in the absence of my lawyer, to this I protested and informed them that I would not participate in any interrogation without the attendance and counsel of my lawyer. After protracted argument on the matter, they eventually allowed my lawyer Mr TM Mutema of Nembo Attorneys who, I’ve leant, they had been keeping in one of their holding rooms the entire time, to access me. At this point, they then preferred charges against me and invited me to make a statement in response. Attached hereto as Annexure “E” is the Warned and Cautioned Statement I gave in response which shows that I denied the charges in their totality.
  8. At about 1630hrs, Eric Chacha, without giving any reasons or explanation, dismissed my lawyer Mr Mutema who rightfully demanded to know what was going on and whether he was leaving together with me since their interrogation was complete and they had recorded a warned statement from me. Much to our surprise, Eric Chacha responded by telling me that they were taking me to Mabelreign Police Station for overnight detention pending court attendance on the following morning.
  9. My lawyer asked for both the reasons and necessity for such an extreme course of action considering that :
    a) they had previously interviewed me on the same allegations as far back as the 23rd of April 2020 and I had not attempted to flee;
    b) there was no likelihood that I would flee and therefore not attend court on the following day;
    c) there was no likelihood that I would interfere with investigations or evidence; and
    d) there was no likelihood that I would commit further offence(s) if not detained prior to being taken to court.
  10. To this enquiry, Eric Chacha responded by telling us that it was, to them, standard procedure to detain every person they arrest until they take them to court. No reasons were given for this decision or so-called standard procedure. Instead, he told us not to waste his time, and true to his word, I was boarded into a truck and driven to Mabelreign Police Station where I was detained, ostensibly for court attendance on the following morning. On the following day, Mr Chacha informed my lawyers late in the afternoon that the docket was not yet complete therefore I could not be taken to court as had been promised. I remained in custody until 8 May 2020 when I was eventually taken to court.
  11. At court, the prosecution, on the strength of sworn testimony from Eric Chacha, “vehemently” opposed my admission to bail pending trial. Eric Chacha confirmed under oath the allegations made against me as more fully appears on Annexure “E1”. This he did despite knowing fully that no vehicles had been recovered at my farm or home and that no vehicles had been shown to have been used for “my personal errands at my farm”. To date, he is yet to show and take me to that farm for indications. He even went as far as telling the court, again under oath, that a forensic audit of the financial records at Central Registry concerning the transactions in question had been conducted, and that he was in possession of same. This was a lie. No such audit has been conducted to date in relation to these allegations against me.
  12. Being the experienced investigator he claims to be, Eric Chacha ought to have known that whatever he was saying before the court under oath would be taken into account by the court in considering my suitability for admission to bail pending trial. He also ought to have known that any untruth, falsehood or misrepresentation of facts would most likely mislead the court in its decision, and ultimately work to my prejudice. There can be no doubt that Eric Chacha, in speaking as he did, under oath, perjured himself.
  13. To date, no complaints of abuse of office as alleged by ZACC have been leveled against me by my employer nor has there been any audit qualification to that effect against the financial records of the Department. It is Chacha who went hunting for a complainant against me, in fact, I am reliably informed that he went as far as attempting to coax the Accounting Officer into giving him a report. A reading of the statement by Secretary Nhepera, Annexure “F” clearly shows that the Ministry has not lodged a complaint against me. There is no doubt in my mind that the only reason why Mr Chacha was in such a hurry to arrest and charge me despite the apparent shortcomings of their case was because he was in league with Peter Bwanya and he was doing the said Peter Bwanya’s bidding.
  14. In the meantime, on the evening of the 6th of May 2020, during a televised news bulletin, the Chairperson of ZACC, the Honourable Matanda-Moyo J appeared and announced that ZACC had arrested me for criminal abuse of office in that:
    a) I had, contrary to procedure, procured for the Department six vehicles, being a Ford Ranger Double Cab Wildtrak and five Isuzu trucks from Duly’s Motors (Pvt) Ltd without going to tender; and that
    b) during the course of their investigations, they (ZACC) had recovered seven (7) government vehicles being used for my personal errands at my farm.
  15. Despite the fact that these allegations formed the basis of the charges levelled against me, the Chairperson of ZACC spoke of me in a manner understood by those who watched the bulletin and intended by her to mean that I had indeed committed and was guilty of the alleged offences. This was indeed the message carried over in all the leading newspapers and on radio and television stations on the following day.
  16. In her aforementioned address, the ZACC Chairperson also stated that they had recovered 7 vehicles from me which vehicles I had been using to run personal errands at my farm. She did not disclose the particulars of said vehicles neither did she state the name or location of my so called farm. In fact, at the time I am alleged to have committed the offence I did not even own a farm. What aggravates matters and clearly demonstrates malice is the fact that ZACC only ever seized two vehicles which vehicles were in fact parked at Central Registry. If they had cared to check the respective vehicles’ log books and Transport Officer’s records, they would have easily ascertained the history of use and deployment of said vehicles.
  17. The Chairperson of ZACC not only spoke of me in the aforementioned manner but she also authorized and superintended my arrest and subsequent detention despite being fully aware that: a) ZACC’s sole witness was an individual with a clear personal vendetta against me and therefore his allegations and testimony against me were obviously suspect.
    b) Neither the Ministry of Home Affairs nor the Public Service Commission had lodged a complaint with her office against me in terms of the Public Finance Management Act.
    c) There had been no forensic audit or internal investigation of any sort into the allegations against me.
    d) I had complained to her office against Eric Chacha’s partial and unprofessional conduct in the manner he had been handling the investigation which was clearly giving Peter Bwanya an undue advantage to my detriment.
  18. I have no issues with said Peter Bwanya whose motive and intentions he never concealed from the very beginning. I, however, take issue with the manner in which a whole institution such as ZACC which is headed by a judge of the High Court disregarded the basic principles of investigation, that information must be verified and that investigation must precede arrest. Again, I am not surprised as it is now evident that decidedly, they threw all caution to the wind for reasons that I can only speculate on which have nothing to do with the law. Since 8 May 2020, I have been as a result on suspension from duty without pay and benefits. I have also since that date been on bail coupled with conditions that even the magistrate who granted me bail described as “stringent”.
  19. Mrs Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo’s conduct together with that of her investigating officer Eric Chacha is, in my opinion, malicious, arbitrary and an abuse of office warranting censure. It is for these reasons, I hereby formally lodge a complaint against these two officials, in their individual and personal capacities for criminal abuse of duty as public officers in contravention of Section 174 (1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23]. I do not believe that this was a collective decision of the Commission but that of these two individuals who were bent on benefiting Peter Bwanya personally and to my detriment, contrary to and inconsistent with their duties as public officers.
  20. Eric Chacha should further be investigated for perjury as defined in Section 183 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23]. The bases of this averment appear in paragraph 12 above. It would also be interesting to know why and in what capacity and for what interest Eric Chacha has been accompanying Peter Bwanya to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Head Office, Public Service Commission and the Treasury seeking the latter’s reinstatement to the position of Chief Accountant in the Civil Registry Department, a position from which he resigned on 17 June 2020.
  21. While conducting his investigation, Eric Chacha threatened to arrest one Benjamin Makiwa and Arthur Mathews if they did not corroborate Peter Bwanya’s allegations against me despite the fact that the said Makiwa and Mathews genuinely believed these allegations to be false. When they refused to comply with his demands, he then proceeded to arrest and charge them with theft of fuel. Eric Chacha had no right to act in the manner he did and it is my submission that his conduct constitutes extortion as defined in section 134 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

For the foregoing reasons, I submit that both the Chairperson of ZACC and Eric Chacha criminally abused their duty as public officers in showing undue favour to Peter Bwanya to my detriment within the contemplation of section 174 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23] and with that, I would like to lodge an official complaint against them with your office. By copy of this letter, I also formally submit this complaint to the Head of the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU) in the office of the President and Cabinet.
I am available should your office require any additional representations on this matter.

Yours Faithfully

………………………………….. CLEMENCE MASANGO
Cc: The Chief Secretary, Office of the President and Cabinet
Cc: The Chairperson, Public Service Commission
Cc: The Secretary for Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage
Cc: The Head, Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU) in the office of the President and Cabinet

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