Zim minister arrested for bribing white farmer - report

2015-09-03 14:02
File: AFP

File: AFP

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Harare – A Zimbabwean minister, Martin Dinha, has reportedly been arrested for demanding and receiving a bribe from a white farmer in return for protecting him from eviction.

Dinha, who is the Mashonaland Central provincial affairs minister, allegedly demanded $60 000 from a tobacco farmer, Guy Frank Dollar.

Dollar is one of the few white farmers left in Zimbabwe following President Robert Mugabe's controversial land reform programme.

Mugabe indicated last year that the he wanted the remaining white farmers to leave, stressing that no whites should own land in Zimbabwe. The veteran leader also said he was aware there were some ministers who were protecting white farmers and warned they would face the law.

According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, between 2012 and March 28 2013, Dollar experienced problems at his Tsoto farm in Centenary. The farm was subdivided into several plots and allocated to a number of beneficiaries.

Trumped up charges 

Dinha allegedly became aware of the development through an official identified as Saineti Magore Madzamba.

The minister then instructed Madzamba to inform Dollar that he should pay $60 000 for him to save and protect him.

The bribe was also meant to help facilitate an offer letter for Dollar to retain his farm, New Zimbabwe.com reported.

After being pressured, Dollar allegedly paid the money to the minister.

The minister allegedly then met the farmer two weeks later and thanked him for the money, claiming he had handed it over a "higher authority", the report said.

Dinha has, however, since denied the allegation, according to a News Day report.

Dinha's lawyer was quoted as saying: "My client believes that these are trumped up charges. The complaint was lodged by people seeking political mileage."

The minister was not asked to plead when he appeared before a provincial magistrate in Bindura on Wednesday. He was granted $1 000 bail and remanded to October 19 for trial at the High Court. He was also ordered to surrender his travel documents.

Dinha was in the news in July after he received an envelope containing an AK47 bullet and a death threat message.

The message read: "Resign now or you die. You messed up with the wrong guys. [Elliot] Manyika, [Border] Gezi and Masawi are waiting for you."

Manyika and Gezi were Zanu-PF political commissars who both died in mysterious car accidents.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  zimbabwe land reforms

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