Matonga graft trial postponed

HARARE - THE corruption trial of Deputy Minister of Information and Publicity, Bright Matonga, has been postponed to February 26 by regional magistrate Morgen Nemadire.
Matonga and jailed former Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) chairman Charles Nherera allegedly solicited and received US

$10 000 bribe each from Gift Investments managing director Jayesh Shah.
The alleged bribe was an inducement not to cancel Gift Investments’ lease agreement to rent ZUPCO’s premises in Southerton, Harare.  The two also allegedly demanded from Shah US$2 000 for each of the 75 buses that the public transporter intended to buy from Shah in 2003.  Matonga, whose trial has been separated from that of Nherera, was ZUPCO’s chief executive officer when the offences were allegedly committed. 
Shah told the court that he did not voluntarily give Matonga and Nherera the US$20 000 saying it was extorted from him as the two threatened to evict him from the Southerton property if he did not meet to their demands.  He was responding to prosecutor Venrandah Munyoro’s question on whether or not he knew that he was committing an offence when he gave Matonga and Nherera the money.
“I did not pay it voluntarily. The demand was imposed on me. The money was extorted from me. I was never willing to pay. How do you pay when there is a valid lease and when we were already going to incur costs in putting up the wash bay (at the ZUPCO premises)? It just does not make sense,” Shah said.  Summing up his evidence, the businessman said he had no axe to grind with Matonga, who used to visit his house and office, even after he had left ZUPCO.
For the defence, Manase is accusing the State of manufacturing evidence.

Post published in: Economy

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