18 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Four ZimRights Officials in Court for Possessing False Statements

Four ZimRights officials yesterday appeared in court charged with publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State. Local chapter chairperson Dorcas Shereni, the organisations'

programme manager (education) and a taxi driver yesterday appeared in court charged with publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State.

The charges arose after local chapter chairperson Dorcas Shereni (42), Tanaka Chinaka (30), Leo Chamhahwinya (28) and Farai Bhani allegedly tried to discredit the voters roll by manufacturing counterfeit copies of the certificate of registration as a voter which they would complete with false names of alleged registered voters. The four who were represented by Mr Trust Maanda, Mr Emmanuel Nyambuya and Mr Tavengwa Masara were not formally charged when they appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Anita Tshuma who remanded them in custody to today for bail hearing.

Their lawyers complained that they had been over detained as one of them was arrested on Tuesday last week and the others on Thursday.

Ms Tshuma asked area prosecutor Mr Jonathan Murombedzi and Mr Michael Reza who are appearing for the State to investigate.

The State counsel produced warrants of further detention issued against the four and said they would investigate the claims.

It is the State's case that on May 31 Bhani registered himself as a voter at Dema Registrar General's Office and acquired a certificate of registration as a voter. He is alleged to have taken the certificate to Chinaka together with reams of green flimsy papers. The pair, it is alleged, scanned the received copy of the certificate of registration as a voter and printed counterfeit copies using the supplied flimsy papers.

They allegedly filled fake names on them and Shereni would give the documents to her subordinate Chamahwinya upon his request at the ZimRights offices.

The State says Chamahwinya would make copies of all the supplied fake documents which he would officially use in ZimRights analysis and for later use to criticise the set up, records and functions of the Registrar General's Office of Zimbabwe.

Upon getting his own records of the counterfeit certificates of registration as a voter Chamahwinya would retain the photocopies and pay Shereni a dollar per copy.

It is alleged Shereni would make payment to Bhani who would in turn pay Chinaka.

It is the State's contention that the four intended to cause prejudice to the Registrar General's Office which has the mandate to register voters and to maintain the voters roll.

The State says there was a real risk or possibility that this misrepresentation would cause bloodshed or chaotic situation in Zimbabwe if the counterfeit certificates were detected during and after the 2013 general elections.

Bhani also appeared before the same magistrate together with Ephraim Matize (32) and Monarch Chibiku for possessing of articles for criminal use. The matter will also be heard today. The allegations arose after they were allegedly found with fake date stamps for district registry office at market square, the clerk of court at Bulawayo Magistrates Court, the department of Immigration Control Headquarters, the Central Vehicle Registry and the district registry at Seke.

Other fake date stamps were for exit at the Harare International Airport, work permits, Masvingo provincial registry, Chegutu Rural District Council among others.

They are alleged to have been found with blank voter registration forms among other fraudulent documents.

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