‘Kereke got preferential treatment in prison’
Convicted rapist Munyaradzi Kereke, who is serving a 10-year prison term for raping an 11-year-old girl, allegedly received preferential treatment in prison, being allowed home visits and enjoying conjugal rights.
This was said by three former Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) officers in court yesterday.
However, ZPCS has denied that Kereke received preferential treatment and said he was never a candidate for transfer to an open prison.
The three are being charged for allegedly concealing transactions from a prison chicken project, partially set up by Kereke.
The three — former Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison officer-in-charge Nobert Chomurenga and his then lieutenants, Cephas Chiparausha and Tonderai Mutiwaringa — are on trial at the Harare Magistrates Courts for receiving over $10 500 from the chicken project without informing their superior.
Chomurenga was the officer-in-charge at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison being deputised by Mutiwaringa, while Chiparausha was the head of security. After Kereke was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in July 2016, he was committed to Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison where he met the trio.
On September 25, 2017, it is alleged Chomurenga and Chiparausha, who were acting in connivance with Mutiwaringa, in their personal capacities, entered into a memorandum of understanding with Humanity Earth Trust, which has links with Kereke.
It is alleged that from September 25, 2017 to August 2018, Humanity Earth Trust provided a total of 3 000 birds, feed, medicines and other sanitary requirements for the chicken-rearing project. Further allegations are that the three, as part of the agreement, provided space and labour in the form of prisoners, but for their personal benefit.
When the chickens were being sold, customers paid money into Chiparausha’s EcoCash account and he received a total of $8 282.
In December 2017, Mutiwaringa, who took over as officer-in-charge following the promotion and transfer of Chomurenga, received $2 252 from Chiparausha through his EcoCash account being proceeds of the project.
In defence, the trio told the court that its actions were with ZPCS Commissioner-General Paradzai Zimondi’s blessings and they were only arrested after his fallout with Kereke.
“The Commissioner-General was fully briefed and was aware of the poultry project between Chikurubi Maximum Prison and Humanity Earth Trust as he was personally aware of the project as he visited and inspected the project when he toured Chikurubi Maximum Prison on several occasions when accused 1 (Chomurenga) was officer-in-charge and officer commanding Harare Metropolitan Province.
“The poultry project was a brainchild of the Commissioner-General and Humanity Earth Africa Trust and through Munyaradzi Kereke as Munyaradzi Kereke assisted Zimbabwe Prisons Service Commission with various projects,” they said in their defence.
At the time of the alleged offences, they say, Comm-Gen Zimondi had directed them to use Kereke’s expertise in finance and economic planning along with social welfare support. The three said Kereke’s favourable treatment included exemption from manual labour.
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