By Mary Taruvinga
THREE top Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services (ZPCS) officials face criminal abuse of office charges for allegedly giving preferential treatment to former Zanu PF MP Munyaradzi Kereke.
Kereke, a businessman and former advisor to ex-central bank governor, Gideon Gono, is serving a 10 year jail term for rape.
Even after having spent more than two years behind bars, Kereke was recently rumoured to have impregnated his younger wife who is ironically not a prison inmate.
The three prison officials have since appeared in court facing charges linked to granting the former Bikita West MP VIP treatment.
They are Nobert Chomurenga (58) of Harare Central Prison Officers camp, Cephas Chiparausha (43) and Tonderai Mutiriwanga, aged 56.
Chiparausha and Mutiriwanga are based at Chikurubi maximum prison camp.
Chomurenga is a Senior Assistant Commissioner while Chiparausha is the chief correctional officer and is deputised by Mutiriwanga.
The three appeared before Harare magistrate, Rumbidzai Mugwagwa on Friday and were remanded out of custody on $300 bail each.
The state alleges that the trio routinely favoured the controversial politician with unscheduled visits by his wives as well as enjoying extra free time behind prison walls while fellow inmates toiled through manual work.
Court also heard that the prison bosses forced prisoners to work in Kereke’s chicken rearing project and later pocketed proceeds paid towards the service.
The three, it is further alleged, signed an MoU with Humanity Earth Trust founded and owned by Kereke but the contract was not known to the ZPCS Commissioner General.
Under the contract, court heard, the three were to provide manual work from prisoners in the chicken business.
It is alleged they raised over $8 000 from the chicken business and shared the money.
In return, Kereke got unlawful favours.
Sebastian Mutizirwa appeared for the state.
The case will be back in court on March 26.
Kereke was in 2016 slapped with a 14-year-jail term after being convicted of sexually abusing an 11-year old female relative at gunpoint, but four years of the sentence were suspended on condition of good behaviour.
His subsequent legal attempts to seek his freedom have all flopped.