Police on Friday arrested Johannes Tomana, the prosecutor general for, among other things, ordering the closure of a case in which Bright Matonga, former Information deputy minister and now a top member at Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF), was facing corruption charges.
Matonga faced the charges in 2008 when he was the chief executive officer at the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO), a government transport utility.
Under unclear circumstances, Tomana directed the chief law officer to drop charges against Matonga, whose docket also went missing.
The re-emergence of the case is seen as a blow to ZimPF, a party led by Joice Mujuru who was removed as President Robert Mugabe’s deputy at the Zanu PF congress in December 2014 and subsequently fired from the party in early 2015.
Mujuru has repeatedly rapped Zanu PF for corruption and poor governance by the Mugabe government.
Police spokesperson, Charity Charamba, confirmed Tomana’s arrest, a day after Mugabe suspended him for alleged abuse of office.
She said police had charged him for various questionable decisions he made as the prosecutor general, among them dropping charges against Matonga and Charles Nherera, who was the ZUPCO board chair then.
Nherera, a former vice chancellor at the Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT), is now employed by the Women’s University in Africa (WUA).
At the height of the land redistribution programme that started in 2000 and displaced some 6,000 commercial white farmers, Matonga grabbed a lucrative oranges farm from Thomas Beattie, but the sprawling plot is now run down
The arrest of Tomana could bring back the corruption cases against Nherera and Matonga, who has since sought spiritual refuge at the UFIC Pentecostal church led by Emmanuel Makandiwa.
“I confirm that he (Tomana) has been arrested for abuse of office as a public officer, or alternatively, defeating the course of justice. This emanates from various decisions and instructions that he would have given to the principal law officers, among other things,” Charamba said.
“There are so many cases where he gave instructions to the principal law officer, either to decline to prosecute, or take a certain direction, for example, when he instructed that the State drops charges against Bright Matonga. In summary, it is abuse of office as a public official or obstruction of justice,” she said.
Mugabe set up a tribunal to investigate Tomana, who is also being accused of directly ordering the release of two men accused of attempting to bomb the Alpha and Omega dairy farm owned by Mugabe’s family