THE Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) officials, acting chief executive officer Engineer Moses Juma and non-executive director Davison Norupiri, who were unprocedurally released from police custody last week by Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko after being arrested for allegedly defrauding the parastatal of US$1,3 million are close associates of the vice-president and First Lady Grace Mugabe, Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
Mphoko, who was acting President at the time, drove to Avondale Police Station in Harare on Wednesday evening and personally secured the release of the incarcerated duo on the grounds that they were his “boys”.
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Government and police sources said Mphoko was so angry when he arrived at the police station that he took off his jacket and threatened to assault police officers after they refused to release the duo.
The Independent has gathered information that Juma and Norupira have been financing Grace and Mphoko’s political activities using Zinara funds.
Norupira, who is also Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) chairperson, is said to have played a key role in ensuring that Grace officiates at ZNCC’s national dinner and business awards in Victoria Falls three weeks ago.
Grace was the guest of honour at the event held under the theme Economic Transformation in a New Normal Economy, New Challenges, New Ideas.
Zinara and Juma in particular have been instrumental in sourcing goods, which the vice-president subsequently donated to various constituencies in Bulawayo and the Matabeleland provinces in a move aimed at propelling his political image.
Mphoko has been using donations reportedly in a quest to build his political profile and national social base after being appointed to the position almost out of the blue by President Robert Mugabe ahead of more experienced and well-known officials.
In May, Juma accompanied Mphoko and Bulawayo Provincial Affairs minister Eunice Sandi-Moyo to the vice-president’s former school Mzilikazi Primary School in Bulawayo where he donated computers sourced by Zinara.
“I went out and sourced the computers which I was given by Zinara. The acting chief executive officer, Moses Juma, is here today to witness that I don’t divert the gadgets,” Mphoko revealed.
Two weeks later, Grace and Mphoko teamed up to hand over 30 000 bricks and 300 bags of cement to Mpopoma High School, also in Bulawayo, for the construction of an Advanced Level classroom block.
The consignment was sourced by Zinara and at the handover ceremony, Mphoko openly commended the parastatal for assisting Grace with the donation.
“I want to thank the First Lady for taking note of the request by Mpopoma High School. I also want to thank Zinara for assisting the First Lady in fulfilling the wish of the school to commence their construction projects,” said Mphoko at the function tattended by several ministers, deputy ministers, senior government officials, legislators and senior Zinara executives.
Government officials also said Zinara has in the past provided large quantities of fuel to Grace and Mphoko for various meetings held countrywide.-ZimInd