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    Thursday, 11 July 2019

    Herald reporter fails to explain EcoCash payments

     Freedom Mupanedemo.


    HARARE –
    Gweru-based Herald senior reporter, Freedom Mupanedemo has failed to explain EcoCash payments made into his account by a company which is being investigated by a Government-appointed Commission for illegal sale of State land in and around urban areas.
    Mupanedemo was asked during the Commission hearing in Harare on Monday why he was receiving EcoCash payments from River Valley and Mupanedemo said he did not remember the reason for the payment.
    Commissioner Heather Chingono asked him if he ever worked for a land development company or did some work for one and his answer was also in the negative.
    The Commission which is chaired by Justice Uchena left Mupanedemo in a tight corner and the later told the hearing that he was a money changer. He mentioned three agents that he dealt with namely Muroiwa Shop, Auflan and Tapiwa Sithole but the Commission asked why he was leaving out the name of Lindrover on his list
    He said he was obviously leaving it out because Lindrover was the reason why the Commission had subpoenaed him. It was made known in the hearing that Lindrover is a company run by Smelly Dube who is also director of River Valley Properties.
    Mupanedemo spoke in Shona and an interpretor was translating his answers into English for the purpose of recorders.
    The Commission said River Valley Properties which is the biggest land developer in Midlands made EcoCash payments to numerous other people in civil service, media, the Army, the Police and the attorney general’s office whose work could be compromised by such payments.
    It is feared that payments to journalists could have compromised reporters’ ability to cover river Valley’s activities in the Midlands Province.
    One high profile figure who received numerous payments from River Valley and ended up appearing in its adverts showing on ZTV is Shurugwi District Administrator Langton Mupeta.
    Mupeta could not explain why he was being paid by River Valley when he appeared before the Commission two weeks ago.
    The Commissioners did not disclose how much Mupanedemo received from River Valley or the total amount of money under investigation. However, in previous hearings the Commission would tell witnesses that it had all the evidence it needed even if witnesses tried to hide the information.
    Mupanedemo also said that he ran three shops in Gweru, one in the city, another in Mkoba and a third in Senga. He said these were some of the sources of his money.
     “So effectively you were also changing money?” asked Commissioner Chingono.
    “Yes,” answered Mupanedemo.
    “Are you employed by any land developer? Have you ever done any work for any land developer? Is 0773431721 your Econet number? What were the transfers from Lindrover for?” asked Commissioner Chingono.
     “Do you know a company called Lindrover? So why did you not mention it?” asked Commissioner Chingono.
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