The Mayor of Bindura Town Council, Jacob Gwature (39 years old) who is a member of the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), and his associate Jonathan Kapasi (49 years old) have been arrested on fraud charges involving US$6,970.
According to Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, the national police spokesperson, the suspects, operating under the company name Pamhodzi Rainbow Network in Zimbabwe, received £5,000 (equivalent to US$6,970) from Kitchen Table Charities Trust in the United Kingdom. The funds were intended for drilling a borehole and installing a solar system at stand number 1305 Budiriro 1, Harare.
However, they failed to fulfil their obligations as per the agreement and did not proceed with the borehole drilling or solar system installation. Misheck Mlambo, representing Kitchen Table Charities Trust, deposited the funds into the suspects’ local bank account.
Following a complaint, the police arrested the suspects, who have since appeared in court. They have been remanded in custody until September 26, 2023, pending a bail application.
The opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) says the charges are fictitious. The party’s spokesperson, Promise Mkwananzi who himself is on the run said:
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Bindura Mayor Cllr Jacob Gwature appeared at the Harare Magistrates Court this morning & has been remanded in custody to Tuesday 26th of September 2023. Cllr. Gwature, like many of our leaders & officials faces fictitious charges dating as far back as 2021. On Tuesday, the 26th of September 2023, we urge our supporters to fill up the Court in solidarity with the Mayor as well as to demonstrate our dismay & opposition against the abuse of state institutions to undermine the will & choices of the people of Zimbabwe. To restore & retain the people’s trust & confidence , our Courts must refuse to be reduced to ZANU PF’s instruments of persecution. The courts ought & must be seen to be carrying our justice without fear or favour. His Legal Advisor Enerst Jena is of the opinion that this is not a criminal matter & must be before a civil not a criminal Court, and rightly so. We are however are that this has been brought before the criminal Court to persecute & try to tarnish Cllr Gwature’s reputation.
The party expressed concern over the ongoing harassment of its members by the Harare regime, following an election they deemed shambolic and rigged. The CCC said the arrest was unjust. Some, however, questioned why the party fielded candidates with criminal pasts, as their actions may affect their future roles. They said law enforcement has a constitutional duty to address crime and cannot remain inactive.