Harare — Zimbabwean police are investigating Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai over fraud involving $1.5 million, a leading private weekly newspaper reported today.
According to the Zimbabwe Independent, Mr Tsvangirai and a close aide, who is now Zimbabwe's ambassador to Germany, Mr Hebson Makuvise, allegedly misused the money that was meant for the purchase and renovation of the PM's new residence two years ago.
Citing "impeccable sources", the paper said the police had opened a criminal docket against the two this week.
"Allegations are that Tsvangirai and Makuvise misappropriated $1.5 million which came from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in 2009 to purchase the house," the paper said.
"The house, a double-storey mansion is currently under renovation to ensure it meets standards of quarters for a premier."
When Mr Tsvangirai joined the unity government in 2009 expectations were that he would move to Zimbabwe House, a residency that was used by the head of government before the post was abolished in 1987.
But President Mugabe reportedly refused to let his former rival move in to the residency adjacent to State House.
The veteran ruler then authorised that Mr Tsvangirai must be given the $1.5 million to buy the house.
Police are also reportedly investigating allegations that the PM could have received another $1 million from Treasury for the same project.
Mr Tsvangirai's spokesman, Mr Luke Tamborinyoka, was quoted saying: "The Prime Minister remains unshaken about these allegations. If police are investigating the case we wish them good luck."
In 2004, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change party was acquitted of treason after he was accused of plotting to kill President Mugabe.
He was also severely assaulted while in police custody in 2007 after he was arrested for allegedly attending an illegal meeting.
Early this year, the Attorney-General, Mr Johannes Tomana, set up a team of lawyers to explore if Mr Tsvangirai could be charged after United States embassy cables leaked by the whistle blower website WikiLeaks revealed that he had discussed Zimbabwe's politics with Western diplomats. MDC accuses police of targeting its members in politically motivated arrests.
This year, two ministers from the party and close associates of Mr Tsvangirai were arrested for alleged fraud and calling President Mugabe a "liar".
Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri has never hidden his dislike for the PM whom he accuses of being a puppet of the West.
According to the Zimbabwe Independent, the commissioner is personally involved in the investigations against Mr Tsvangirai.