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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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CRIME

Wilfred Marodza raped woman four times in the park

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Wilfred Marodza

Wilfred Marodza, a trainee solicitor at a top law firm who repeatedly raped a young woman after stalking her and dragging her to a park is facing years in prison.

Marodza, 28, pounced on the victim, in her twenties, in the early hours of July 20 as she walked along Great Dover Street in Borough, grabbing on to her neck and threatening her as he forced her into a secluded part of Dickens Fields.

He then stripped her and raped her four times before she managed to break free, Inner London crown court heard.

She fled naked through the street with Wilfred Marodza in pursuit, as he claimed to bystanders they were having a “domestic” before she managed to escape in a passing minicab.

Marodza, a trainee solicitor with firm Cripps Pemberton Greenish, had been drinking in the area before carrying out the attack at 2.15am and struck again less than two hours later.

He grabbed another woman, also in her twenties, from behind in Borough High Street and put his hand over her mouth, attempting to drag her into a side street. However, the woman screamed and Wilfred Marodza fled.

Police were able to catch him because he left his rucksack, with his work identification inside, at the scene.

CPS prosecutor Nahid Mannan said: “This was a horrendous attack on two young, lone females. The prosecution case included compelling evidence showing Marodza dragging the two victims to secluded areas and also chasing the naked victim he had just raped.

“Marodza also left his rucksack containing his work identification at the scene of the rape, allowing police to easily identify him.

“The CPS takes crimes against women extremely seriously and I hope this conviction goes some way to provide the victims with a degree of closure.”

At court yesterday, Wilfred Marodza, a Zimbabwean national from Eastbourne in East Sussex, pleaded guilty to four counts of rape, kidnapping and a charge of committing an offence with the intent to commit a sexual offence.

He was remanded in custody by Judge Nigel Seed QC until a sentencing hearing next month.

Gavin Tyler, the managing partner at Cripps Pemberton Greenish, said: “We are completely appalled to learn of Wilfred Marodza’s conviction for such shocking offences. We were informed by the police in July of the arrest and that he was remanded in custody but did not know anything about the details of the offences until today. Our thoughts, of course, are with the victims and their families.

“Although there were never any concerns raised internally regarding Mr Marodza, we are offering support for staff members who worked closely with him or who feel affected by the news for any other reason.” The Standard

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CRIME

FBI takes down Nigerian fraudsters in $46M case

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Nigerian fraudsters

The relationship between a Japanese woman and a U.S. Army captain stationed in Syria started online, through an international social network for digital pen pals. It grew into an internet romance over 10 months of daily emails.

It ended with the woman $200,000 poorer and on the verge of bankruptcy after borrowing money from her sister, ex-husband and friends to help Capt. Terry Garcia with his plan to smuggle diamonds out of Syria.

In reality, there were no diamonds and there was no Garcia — they were part of an elaborate scam hatched by an international ring of cyber thieves operating mainly out of Los Angeles and Nigeria.

Federal authorities cited the case of the Japanese woman, known only as “F.K.” in court papers, on Thursday when they announced an indictment charging 80 people with stealing at least $46 million through various schemes that targeted businesses, the elderly and anyone susceptible to a romance scam. Most of the defendants are Nigerian fraudsters.

“We believe this is one of the largest cases of its kind in U.S. history,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna told a news conference. “We are taking a major step to disrupt these criminal networks.”

The investigation began in 2016 with a single bank account and one victim, said Paul Delacourt, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office. It grew to encompass victims who were targeted in the U.S. and around the world, some of whom like the Japanese woman lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“F.K. was and is extremely depressed and angry about these losses,” the federal complaint states. “She began crying when discussing the way that these losses have affected her.”

Her relationship began innocently in March 2016 with an email but soon “Garcia” made “romantic overtures,” according to federal authorities. He told her they couldn’t talk by phone because he wasn’t allowed to use one in Syria.

So a stream of emails went back and worth, with her using Google to translate his English into her Japanese. A month into the relationship, Garcia told her he’d found a bag of diamonds in Syria and he began introducing her to his associates, starting with a Red Cross representative who told her Garcia had been injured but had given him the box.

F.K. ultimately made 35 to 40 payments, receiving as many as 10 to 15 emails a day directing her to send money to accounts in the U.S., Turkey and the United Kingdom through the captain’s many purported associates.

The Nigerian fraudsters even threatened her with arrest if she did not continue to pay and at one point she travelled to Los Angeles because she was told a Russian bank manager had embezzled more than $33,000 of her funds.

Authorities arrested 14 defendants Thursday, mostly in the Los Angeles area. FBI agents could be seen processing suspects in a downtown Los Angeles parking lot before they were arraigned in federal court. It was not immediately known if they had attorneys who could speak on their behalf.

Two suspects were previously in custody and a few others were arrested earlier this week. Hanna said he hoped to be able to work with foreign governments to extradite the remaining Nigerian fraudsters.

They all face charges of conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to launder money, and aggravated identity theft, and some are charged with additional offences for alleged fraud and money laundering.AOL

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CRIME

Kid Lyrik a.k.a. Kudzai Mawunganidze speaks out

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Kudzai Mawunganidze Kid Lyrik

Kid Lyrik – real name Kudzai Mawunganidze – has revealed how drug dealing got him deported from the United States.

Kid Lyrik (27) who was in the US since the age of eight staying in Texas was deported last year in October after being arrested by undercover police during a cocaine drug deal.

He was also caught in possession of four kilogrammes of marijuana.

Like most rappers in the US, who start off as drug dealers and then pursue their music professionally to becoming stars, Kid Lyrik had seen himself take the same path.

Kid Lyrik, who is now staying with his uncle in Marlborough in the capital, opened up about his gangster lifestyle that included, drug dealing, women, owning a gun and getting intoxicated basically on a daily basis.

“I left Zimbabwe when I was eight, at that time I was staying with my grandmother in Chitungwiza, both my parents’ were already in the US.
“I was staying in Texas-Dallas and over the years, I became good friends with many cowboys, some who later who became my marijuana suppliers.

“I considered drugs after I lost my dad in 2009, I was very close to him than I was to my mom and losing at a time when I was graduating from high school the next year kind of affected me.

“My dad had separated with my mom and he had moved back to Zimbabwe where he died.

“From there I started taking drugs then went to selling marijuana.

“I would take cocaine too but it wasn’t my trade,” he said.

He said he had two accomplices that helped him sell the marijuana, his two girlfriends he stayed with, one named Kara and other Sally Gee.
He added he slept like a king, as he would get sexually engaged to both of both at the same time (three-some).

“I met these two girls when they were already dating each other, they were bisexual and after the three of us clicked everything was good.

“They would do anything for me from selling marijuana to just anything.

“It was also good business having the two girls play front as it brought in many customers.

“I was making around a thousand dollars a week a selling one gramme for ten dollars.

“I wasn’t rich but it was good money, I was comfortable and lived the lifestyle I wanted.

“I was also making around US$150 a day from my Snapchat account,” he said.

As a drug dealer, Kid Lyrik said he also owned a gun and at some point had three guns that he used a couple of times.

Kid Lyrik said he was growing popular around Texas with his music, which he produced and wrote on his own.

He became popular, got the attention around Texas and was performing at small and big events in the city.

“My music was basically about drugs, sex and money but I always wanted my music to have a deeper meaning combining that, so I started to teach myself sociology and psychology.

“As a rapper, I knew it would take me global.”

However, his music-gangster lifestyle came to an end when he was arrested.

He spent nine months behind bars and from there he was deported back to Zimbabwe.

“I never saw myself coming to Zimbabwe I just thought after my release I am going back to my lifestyle.

“I wrote a lot of music whilst I was in prison and it’s all on my upcoming EP entitled “The irony of contradiction”

“I produced the EP with the help of my young brother Blawu.”

Kid Lyrik still strongly believes he can go global with his music and has recently released a song entitled “Coming to America” produced by Oskid.

“The song is about me going back to America, not physical since I was deported but going back to America in the sense of my music playing in America.

“I was already making ‘noise’ in Texas with great potential of blowing up in other states in America and that dream for me still lives on.
“I have great faith I will make it with my music.

“I also want to study sociology and psychology majoring in mass communication, hopefully, next year I start my studies,” he said.H-Metro

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