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CRIME

Jeffrey Epstein ‘takes his own life in prison’

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Jeffrey Epstein

Jeffrey Epstein has been found dead in his prison cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, US media report.

His body was discovered at 07:30 local time (11:30 GMT) on Saturday at the facility in New York.

The circumstances of his death are unclear. He was reportedly on suicide watch following an earlier incident.

Jeffrey Epstein, 66, had pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and conspiracy charges and was being held without bail.

Last month, he was found semi-conscious in his cell with injuries to his neck. He was treated at a nearby hospital, reports say, before being returned to New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Epstein was accused of paying girls under the age of 18 to perform sex acts at his Manhattan and Florida mansions between 2002 and 2005.

He was arrested on 6 July after landing in New Jersey on his private jet.

New York-born Epstein worked as a teacher before moving into finance.

Prior to the criminal cases against him, he was best known for his wealth and high-profile connections.

He was often seen socialising with the rich and powerful, including President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton and the UK’s Prince Andrew.

Reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s wealth vary, with his Virgin Islands-based firm generating no public records.BBC

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CRIME

Phelekezela Mphoko on the run after ZACC attempt to arrest him

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Phelekezela Mphoko

Former Vice President, Phelekezela Mphoko, is on the run after dramatically fleeing from Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) officers who were set to arrest him in Bulawayo yesterday.

The former Vice President’s movie style escape follows attempts by Zacc officers to take him to Bulawayo Central Police Station to slap him with abuse of office charges for an offence he allegedly committed during his tenure in office.

Mphoko had initially agreed to surrender himself to the Zacc officers at the police station but made a U-turn and sped off, leaving the investigating officers shell-shocked.

Mphoko is being accused of criminal abuse of office after he unlawfully instructed some junior police officers to release from cells, former Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) acting chief executive, Moses Juma.

Juma was being charged with criminal abuse of office.

Mphoko, who reportedly resisted arrest on Friday at his home in Douglasdale, yesterday agreed to meet Zacc officers at Bulawayo Central Police Station.

His lawyers had gone to Zacc offices to submit his statement but the investigators demanded that he must appear before them.
That is when they agreed to meet at a neutral venue – a police station in the city.

Yesterday afternoon, Mphoko indicated that he was now on his way to the police station for a recording of his warned and cautioned statement.

Upon arrival at the station, Mphoko then drove off at high speed.

Zacc spokesperson Commissioner John Makamure yesterday told The Chronicle that Mphoko was now a fugitive with anti-corruption officials pursuing him.

“He (Mphoko) ran away and as we speak he is on the run and Zacc officials are on the ground looking for him. The officials went to court, but he ran away. In fact, they went to a police post after having indicated that he (Mphoko) was not comfortable with our investigators,” he said.

“When our officials got there, he ran away and he is a fugitive of justice and Zacc officials are on the ground hunting for him.”
However, Mphoko’s lawyer, Mr Zibusiso Ncube, yesterday denied that his client was a fugitive, insisting that he was ready to stand trial.

He said the attempt by Zacc officers to arrest his client was contrary to their initial agreement when the former VP was supposed to just come and sign his warned and cautioned statement at Tredgold Building.

“My client is not a fugitive and he is actually prepared to have his day in court. My client had indicated that he wanted to have his warned and cautioned statement recorded at Tredgold Building where we then agreed to meet,” he said.

Mr Ncube said his client later raised fears of abduction in the event that they took him to the police station.

“If you look at the circumstances of the case, my client’s fears of being abducted seem to be confirmed in the sense that on Friday an official from Zacc called and I told him I was at a church camp meeting out of Bulawayo. I told him that I would be back on Sunday and we agreed to meet on Monday.

“I was then later disappointed to learn that they stormed my client’s house and tried to arrest him contrary to what we had agreed on,” he said.

Mr Ncube said on arrival at Tredgold Building, they were accosted by two officials from Zacc.

“When I went to Tredgold with my client we were accosted by two Zacc officials and they indicated to us that there was a change of plan and that we were now supposed to go to Bulawayo Central Police Station, which was a betrayal of sincerity,” he said.

Mr Ncube said he is now in the process of writing a letter informing the Zacc chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo about what transpired.

“I am working on a letter addressed to the Zacc chairperson because social media is now awash with reports that my client is refusing to co-operate, which is wrong. He simply wants his safety guaranteed and my client is willing to be given a trial date depending on Zacc’s readiness,” he said.

Allegations against Mr Mphoko are that in 2016, while he was still Vice President, he stormed Avondale Police Station to release Juma.

Mphoko, during that time, threatened to beat junior police officers at the station if they failed to comply with his demands.

Juma was later re-arrested and sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted of abuse of office.

According to court papers, on May 6, 2016, Zacc received a report of allegations of fraud and criminal abuse of duty against Zinara officials.

Investigations that ensued resulted in the arrest of Davison Norupiri and Juma. The two were charged with criminal abuse of duty as defined in section 174 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and their warned and cautioned statements were recorded on July 12, 2016.

After the arrest, Juma and Norupiri were taken to Avondale Police Station the following day pending their appearance in court.

On the same day at around 6 PM, Mphoko, who was at the time the Acting President, stormed the police station and ordered the immediate release of Juma and Norupiri from lawful police custody. The officer-in-charge complied with Mphoko’s order and released the two men before Mphoko drove away with them in his car.

It was stated that Mphoko acted in a manner that was inconsistent with his duties as a public officer, which was in violation of section 106 of the constitution.

The ex-Vice President resisted arrest on Friday at his Douglasdale house after dramatically refusing to co-operate with Zacc arresting officers whilst his wife Laurinda and daughter Siduduzo ordered the officials out. The Chronicle

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BUSINESS

President Mnangagwa fires Prisca Mupfumira

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Prisca Mupfumira fired

President Emmerson Mnangagwa fired Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira on Thursday, a statement from Zimbabwe’s presidency said, after she was detained over the disappearance of millions of dollars during her time as welfare minister.

Prisca Mupfumira is facing seven corruption charges linked to $94 million missing from the country’s pension fund.

She was “removed … from the office of a cabinet minister and minister of government with immediate effect”, the statement said, without giving further details.

Mupfumira was arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission in July, becoming the first sitting minister of the ruling Zanu-PF party to be jailed for graft under Mnangagwa’s new administration.

Mupfumira was sacked as social welfare minister by ex-president Robert Mugabe weeks before a military-led coup that toppled the long-time ruler in November 2017.

After the putsch, she was re-appointed with a new portfolio.

Mnangagwa has identified endemic corruption as a major contributor to the country’s economic woes and vowed to root it out.AFP

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CRIME

Walter Magaya latest rape video clip goes viral

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Walter Magaya Rape Case Maenzanise

A VIDEO clip of Godfrey and Molly Maenzanise accusing Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries founder Walter Magaya of raping and impregnating Chenai Agatha Maenzanise went viral on social media this week, sparking debate on various platforms on the allegations.

Molly Maenzanise, who claimed to be a member of PHD Ministries, appeared so emotionally drained as she told her story.

“I received a message from my daughter while I was performing my duties at church (PHD Ministries) stating that she had been raped by Prophet Magaya and that he was responsible for her pregnancy.

“We are loyal members of the church. She said the prophet used to sexually abuse her. She said he used to sleep with her. They were never in love, but he just manipulated her. The daughter was manipulated through promises to pay her school fees. He even promised to take care of her needs. She was cornered until she gave in. She told me that the prophet was her child’s father. I could not believe it considering that I used to see him (Magaya) every day at church where I loyally serve the Lord.”

Efforts to get a comment from Magaya and his spokesperson failed.

Pastors from his church kept on promising to respond, but to no avail.

“The prophet and the elders are in a meeting,” said one of the pastors identified as Clive. “They are busy, but as soon as they finish, we will give you our response.”

Walter Magaya is currently defending another case of allegedly raping a 25-year-old Midlands State University (MSU) student who was a member of his church.

He allegedly raped the girl in June 2015 at his Mt Pleasant house.

The girl had accepted an invitation by the preacher to visit him, where she was shown around the house.

It is alleged that Magaya left the girl alone in one of the rooms before coming back naked.

The State claims Magaya forced himself on the girl and became intimate with her without protection.

It is also the State’s case that Magaya gave the girl $200 after the incident. The girl reported the case to her boyfriend in July 2015.

Walter Magaya was initially charged with rape only but is now facing more counts, including unlawful termination of pregnancy and defeating the course of justice.

It is State’s case that after his arrest in September 2016, he threatened the victim using some of his congregants.

According to the State, this prompted the complainant to withdraw charges against Magaya.

The State pursued the case, forcing Walter Magaya to desperately seek for the Constitutional Court’s intervention.

He raised constitutional issues, arguing that it was unfair for the court to try him considering that the complainant lied against him.

But the State said it was a fear-induced withdrawal and urged the court to try him.

The ConCourt ruled against Magaya and the bench said he must have a day in court to answer to the accusations he is facing.

Walter Magaya was then indicted to the High Court for his trial early last year. The Chronicle.

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