Chihuri Corruption Trial Postponed

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By Sharleen Mohammed/ Lisa Nyanhongo

THE High Court has postponed the corruption case in which the State seeks to forfeit properties worth US$32 million owned by former police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri and his family.

The State believes the assets are party of the massive wealth Chihuri corruptly amassed when he was police boss.

Justice Pisirai Kwenda postponed the case to March 16, because he had a busy schedule.

The former commissioner-general is being accused of side-tracking US$32 million of public funds into family companies and buying properties during his 25-year tenure.

He is alleged to have sold five properties between 2017 and 2018 following his unceremonious departure.

The State is also seeking to freeze Chihuri’s companies and the properties, which his family acquired during his prolonged reign pending the final outcome of possible criminal investigations and civil suits.

In the application counteracting Chihuri’s bid to set aside two orders issued against him, the State argues that a check with the deeds office revealed the rushed disposal of assets by the Chihuri family.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) also obtained a High Court order two years to encumber Chihuri and his family’s various properties which were then simultaneously placed under the management of an asset management unit within the NPA.

This means the properties cannot be sold without the permission of the courts.

The anti-corruption drive was enhanced through the enactment into law of the unexplained wealth regulations.

The orders were enacted into law through the insertion of a new Chapter III-A into the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act of 2013, with the High Court now empowered to make orders designed to elicit explanations from persons who exhibit possession of great wealth without having apparent lawful means of obtaining it.