By Robert Tapfumaneyi
FORMER Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri has disputed the valuation done on his vast properties describing it as mischievous political persecution that has compromised his family’s survival.
Chihuri said his wealth cannot be in dispute as he worked for over 37 years in the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) while he is also a successful businessman and farmer.
In his High Court papers justifying his wealth, the embattled former top cop said he took a loan from CBZ under the watch of then chief executive Gideon Gono to start his business.
Gono later became Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor.
Early this month, the government froze Chihuri’s assets as he stands accused of looting US$32 million of public funds and has been asked to explain how he accumulated that wealth.
The State is accusing him of using government funds to prop-up family companies and buy numerous properties.
“I wish to observe that the estimated valuations of my properties are a shocker and intended to arouse public anger against my family in pursuit of political persecution,” Chihuri said in court papers.
“This is really a war of attrition in order to wipe my family and dispose of all means of livelihood we have worked for over the years.
“By freezing all properties and assets, we have been cruelly strangled and we cannot survive on a day-to-day basis. The valuations on properties are mischievous and it’s typical of political persecution.”
Chihuri questioned; “How can a Zengeza high density suburb three-roomed house be valued at $7 million, an old house built by the Chitungwiza municipality?”
“The valuations of the properties are ‘thumb sucked values totaling $150 million dollars’, which is a shocker, to say the least.
“Who were these valuators, how professional are they in this field of valuation? Where are the valuations relied on?”
He said Gono had answers on how he started his business and farming which he embarked on before the start of the controversial government land reform, and this was his source of income.
“I personally ventured into business in 1996. The then CBZ CEO Gideon Gono knows how I started the company because I borrowed from his bank in order to start my company,” Chihuri stated in his court papers.
“The company Kidsdale Enterprises started operating in 1996 to 2017. The company operated successfully and was contracted by the Ministry of Transport, Rural Development, (local) councils, and even the Ministry of Mines.
“We later operated a bakery and collected rentals from some of the properties we later sold, which have been bundled in this collection of properties.”
He added; “My family started farming before the land reform programme major crops, maize and horticulture, potatoes, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and fish farming since 1993 – 2017 annually realising substantial profits.
“As an A2 farmer for 19 years starting 2001 annually without fail, we grew not less than 300+ hectares of maize, not less than 150 hectares of soya beans and about 100 hectares of wheat.
“We also grew not less than 50 hectares of seed maize annually. In 2008 up to 2017, we embarked on fruit farming, 20 hectares of banana, and seven hectares of paw paw for about 10 years non-stop and the produce was remarkable.
“The farm sold not less than 100 cattle annually, a breeding process that was thriving. We also sold 70 to 80 sheep and 100 goats to the local Indian community.
“Again because of the circumstances, these efforts have been derailed. Surely in an independent Zimbabwe can I be punished for refusing to participate in a coup? Being a successful farmer, successful business person all because of personal scores from the powers that be?”
Chihuri said he also accumulated his wealth from his salary, bonuses, service benefits, back pays on promotion, and savings from foreign trips during the 37 years he served in the ZRP and while he was the vice president for Interpol.
“There I was remunerated in foreign currency for serving in those capacities for six years. I have been gainfully employed, in this period and have built the assets through diligence and hard work.”
Chihuri is under investigation for criminal abuse of public office, money laundering, theft and fraud.
He is being accused of establishing a syndicated criminal mafia meant to siphon public funds for his personal benefit and family.
Prosecutor General Kumbirai Hodzi also wants him to explain his interests in Nodpack Investments, Croxile Investments, Mastaw Investments, Rewstands Enterprise, Rash Marketing, and Adamah Enterprises.