Chihuri inquiry over sale of five properties continues

Source: Chihuri inquiry over sale of five properties continues | The Herald

Chihuri inquiry over sale of five properties continues
Augustine Chihuri

Fidelis Munyoro
The inquiry into former police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri’s sale of five properties that were part of the family’s large property portfolio is continuing today at the High Court, with the State making its submissions.

The State is seeking to prove that the properties were allegedly acquired using public funds and must be forfeited to the State.

Chihuri who is under investigation for diverting US$32 million of public funds into family companies and buying a large swathe of property, allegedly sold the five properties shortly before he left the country or immediately after he had already left.

The inquiry has a legal bearing on those who purchased the properties.

One of the five buyers of the properties, Ms Erinah Machingambi was last week granted an order to be joined in the proceedings of the counter-application by consent of both parties’ legal counsel on the basis that she was an innocent buyer.

The properties also sold include a magnificent mansion in Gletwyn, featuring 16 bedrooms all ensuite, seven lounges, nine garages, a helipad and a fishing dam— all sitting on 30 acres of land valued at US$7 million.

The Chihuri family is expected to disclose how they acquired Lot 3 of Plot 4 of Juliasdale Nyanga, a property worth US$3 860 000 and registered in the names of Samantha Chihuri, Ethan Augustine Chihuri, Nicole Tawonga Chihuri and Anashe Melamine Chihuri under Deed of Transfer 2208/12.

The family should also explain how it was originally acquired — 14453 Ibhalabhala Crescent, Selbourne in Bulawayo which was transferred from the ex-police boss’s name into the name of Tendai Madamombe on July 24, 2018. The buyer resold it in December.

The National Prosecuting Authority has already been granted orders that freeze company and property assets, orders now being disputed by Chihuri, and is now seeking an explanation of the sale of the additional properties.

The order, which the NPA obtained at the High Court, placed the known family property in Zimbabwe under the management of the Asset Management Unit of the NPA.

This means the property and companies cannot be sold without the permission of the courts.

NPA’s head of Asset Forfeiture Unit Mr Chris Mutangadura is appearing for the State.

Chihuri, his wife Isobel and children — Ethan and Samantha — were listed as respondents together with five companies involved in the alleged siphoning of money from the Police Revolving Fund.

Chihuri, through his lawyer Mr Addington Chinake, last week made his submissions seeking to be absolved of any wrongdoing and discharge of the court orders issued to forfeit his properties.

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