THE NewsDay newspaper has suspended its political editor as part of an investigation into bribery claims.
Kelvin Jakachira has been ordered to produce receipts and documents relating to a Toyota vehicle he owns amid claims it was a “gift” from Munyaradzi Kereke, an adviser to Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono.
Raphel Khumalo, the CEO of NewsDay’s publishing company, Alpha Media Holdings, confirmed Jakachira’s suspension but declined to go into further detail.
Sources say Alpha Media executives acted after Kereke caused the arrest of two journalists from The Standard, a sister paper to NewsDay, over a story which claimed his Green Card Medical Aid company was facing collapse.
Alpha Media bosses became concerned that Kereke had a mole in the organisation after it emerged the rich businessman – who also owns Doves Morgan Funeral Services and Green Card Cars – had information on the Standard’s investigation into his troubled health insurance firm which was only known in-house.
Suspicion immediately fell on Jakachira, whom NewsDay bosses thought had an “unhealthy relationship” with the businessman.
Through his many companies, Kereke has been sponsoring media awards run by the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ). But in a statement, ZUJ announced it was severing ties with Kereke over his role in the arrest of Standard editor Nevanji Madanhire and reporter Nqaba Matshazi.
While spreading his largesse to journalists in what is seen as an attempt to buy “protection” from bad publicity, Kereke has also reportedly been generous with the police.
Last year, he was accused of raping a 11-year-old girl but police dropped their investigation under unclear circumstances, infuriating children’s rights groups.
Kereke is officially still employed as an adviser to Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, but the two men are reportedly not on talking terms after a breakdown in their relationship.