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Zimbabwe Police Arrest Minister Over Graft Charges

Police in Zimbabwe have arrested the Minister of State for Mashonaland Central province, Martin Dinha, over corruption allegations.

The state is alleging that Dinha, who has since been arraigned before the courts for initial remand, abused his office by demanding a $60,000 bribe from Muzarabani commercial farmer Guy Frank Dollar.

According to court documents, the money was a protection fee that would enable Dollar, a tobacco farmer, to remain on his Muzarabani farm, which had been designated for compulsory acquisition by the government.

Dinha, who recently said he had received a bullet in a parcel and threatening messages asking him to step down from his public office or risk suffering the same fatal fate that befell the late Zanu PF political commissar Elliot Manyika, who died in a car accident in 2008, was represented by attorney Tapson Dzvetero when he appeared before a Bindura magistrate.

He was asked to pay a $1,000 bail and to report every Friday to the police, surrender his travelling documents and to reside at his given address.

According to state papers, Dinha worked with Saineti Magore Madzamba and Tsitsi Nyika to secure the money from Dollar.

In his written deposition, Prosecutor General Chris Mutangadura writes: “That is to say Martin Tafara Dinha received, possessed, concealed or disposed of the said proceeds of crime by transferring U.S. $30,000 into his other POSB Ordinary Savings account…”

Dinha, who has been in the media of late as factional fights in the ruling Zanu PF continue, as rival groups angle to take over from President Robert Mugabe when he leaves office, is the chairperson of the Mashonaland Central Provincial Lands Committee.

He has previously aligned himself with President Mugabe’s family but some in Zanu PF have been baying for his blood, alleging he is linked to ousted former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s faction.