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Anti-graft Commissioner Faces Charges of Violating Secrets Law

Harare Magistrates Courts
A commissioner with the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, Emmanuel Chimwanda, was Wednesday arraigned before the courts facing charges of breaching the Official Secrets Act.

Chimwanda allegedly gave classified information to officials in former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's office in a case in which the Commission was investigating Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo.

Chimwanda’s trial on allegations of supplying classified information to four staffers of the former prime minister’s office regarding the corruption scandal of outgoing Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo opened with the commissioner pleading not guilty.

Chimwanda is facing charges of impersonation, illegal possession of articles for criminal use and breaching the Official Secrets Act.

The state claims that Chimwanda irregularly acquired a criminal docket that accused former Harare special interest councillor Charles Nyachowe of fraud.

Prosecutor Michael Reza said Chimwanda unlawfully abused his office as a commissioner in the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission by taking documents to Thabani Mpofu, Warship Dumba, Felix Matsinde and Mehluli Tshuma, who were research officers in Mr. Tsvangirai's office.

The former premier's staffers were also arrested on separate charges of impersonation and obtaining information on several ministers’ alleged corruption in violation of the Official Secrets Act.

On Wednesday, the prosecution called the state's first witness, Denford Chirindo, chairperson of the Anti-Corruption Commission to testify.

Chirindo stunned the court when he said he was only called by the state to be a witness in this case but had no knowledge why Chimwanda was being arraigned before the court.

Under cross-examination by Chimwanda's lawyer, Jonathan Samukange, Chirindo said his commission was investigating Mr. Chombo on how he acquired several properties countrywide.

However, he would not reveal when the investigation would have been completed.

Magistrate Hoseah Mujaya adjourned the case to Thursday when Chirindo's cross-examination is expected to continue.

Meanwhile, the High Court also heard an application filed the MDC-T seeking an order barring Mr. Chombo from blocking mayors seconded by the MDC-T from assuming office.

MDC-T seconded Obert Gutu and Mandla Nyathi to be Harare and Bulawayo mayors respectively but Chombo has vowed to block the move because the two were not elected officials.

Chombo argues that only elected councilors are eligible to be elected mayors while the MDC-T says Chombo's assertions are invalid at law.

At the time of going to air, the case was still being heard in the High Court chambers.