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Drama as minister hides from journalists

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THERE was drama at the Bulawayo High Court last week after Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi literally fled from being captured on camera on his way out after the hearing on his contempt of court charges.

RICHARD MUPONDE
SENIOR COURT REPORTER

Mohadi is accused of threatening to kill an employee of AfricOil Petroleum, a consortium keen to invest in the fuel sector in Beitbridge.

The minister had arrived for the hearing on the application filed by the liquidator of Red Queen (Pvt) Ltd, Barbra Lunga, the company that was sold to the investor AfricOil Petroleum for about $2,3 million.

The charges emanated from reports that Mohadi stormed into Beitbridge Police Station where he threatened to kill Craig Hunter Pott an employee who had been tasked with conducting an asset assessment of liquidated fuel company, Red Queen Trading (Pvt) Ltd.

The drama at the High Court started after lunch adjournment at 12:30pm, where the case was being heard in Justice Martin Makonese’s chambers.

Mohadi’s aides who were waiting outside the court spotted a Southern Eye news crew positioned to capture images of the minister as he emerged from the court building.

On noticing the camera, the aides alerted Mohadi of the presence of the media and he immediately went back into the court building.

They decided to lead him out using the aisle which is used by prisoners when they are getting into court, but found that the camera was focused there again.

The minister had a torrid time standing in the aisle, with the aides looking for ways to sneak him out of the court.

After a while, the aides decided to shield Mohadi with their bodies, but he soon realised that his towering figure dwarfed them and quickly dashed back.

One of the aides had to leave the court premises to fetch a Nissan Trail motor vehicle which he had parked opposite York House along Leopold Takawira Street to try to shield Mohadi’s vehicle, but the plan failed.

However, after about 20 minutes of visible panic, the aides decided to reverse Mohadi’s blue Ford Ranger which was parked inside the court premises, to near the gate used by High Court judges.

The minister then used a rear door and was seen getting into his vehicle with his aides providing cover. His driver drove off at high speed out of the gate and down Herbert Chitepo Street.

Mohadi said in his founding affidavit the chamber application filed by Lunga’s lawyer Joseph James was defective for want of compliance with rule 2412 of the High Court of Zimbabwe rules, 1971.

He said the liquidator, Lunga, was approaching the court with dirty hands in that she sold the company property with no leave of the court and was in contravention of Section 221(2)(h) of the Companies Act.

“Secondly, the liquidator or applicant in this matter is seeking protection for violation of the law. This honourable court should not and cannot help her to do so,” he said.

“She deserves no protection from the law and by law.”

Mohadi denied threatening Pott or interfering with Lunga’s duties.

He said he had only been passing through the company premises when he saw people dismantling fuel terminals. He asked what was happening and was told Pott was removing property. A criminal report had been made against Pott on allegations of malicious damage to property.

Justice Makonese indefinitely reserved his judgment after hearing arguments from both parties.

Lunga is seeking an interdict barring Mohadi and his associates from interfering with her duties.

Mohadi has allegedly been trying to grab the property from Beitbridge businessman Reginald McGillivray Dawson, who set up the enterprise together with his wife Jane using their personal funds.

Dawson was subsequently forced to liquidate the company together with two others — Spoornet (Pvt) Ltd and Nerry Investments — because of Mohadi’s constant threats.

In December 2012, Justice Lawrence Kamocha divested Mohadi and his business partner Josias Moyo of the directorship of the companies.

He ordered Mohadi and his business associates to reimburse more than $340 000 they allegedly swindled from Nerry Investments, another company already under liquidation, whose bank account the minister had allegedly turned into a “piggy bank”.

Mohadi was found to have authorised the company to pay for his son Campbell Junior’s rental expenses in South Africa.

Campbell had enrolled at Lanseria Flight Centre at the Grand Central Airport in Midrand, Johannesburg, where he is training as a pilot.

He was allegedly getting $680 for personal use every month from company coffers.

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