- Southern Africa
Zimbabwe: Minister accused of mobile phone theft sued for US$19 million
A self styled war veteran Joseph Chinotimba who accuses deputy Minister of Youth, Thamsanqa Mahlangu for stealing his mobile phone has filed a land mark lawsuit of US$19.5 million.
The High Court application which was filed cites Mahlangu as the first defendant, Geraldine Phiri as the second while Patience Nyoni is the third and Malvern Chadamoyo the fourth defendant.
Chinotimba says he lost business amounting to more than US$19 million during the time his cell phone was in possession of the accused.
However, Mahlangu has admitted that he walked out of a conference venue with Chinotimba’s phone but denies theft.
In a sensational development, his lawyer admitted the youth leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai walked out of a Harare conference with the phone, but will deny stealing it.
Charles Kwaramba the lawyer says Mahlangu received the phone from his Personal Assistant who had picked it up, and had wanted to hand it over to the conference’s organisers.
But Mahlangu left for Bulawayo which is 450 kilometers away from Harare without surrendering it.
In a stunning revelation, the lawyer said the phone was currently being kept by another minister whom he refused to name.
Kwaramba said: “Obviously, there was a misunderstanding, and what has sort of exacerbated the matter is that it is now being blown out of proportion. Mahlangu got the phone from one of his personal assistants who picked it up. It had been dropped on the floor.
“... they handed it over to him thinking that it was his because he has a similar phone. He then said it wasn’t his, and what transpired thereafter is that he kept it. He wanted to give it back to the organisers of the conference.
“But he doesn’t have this phone now. He had given it to another minister – one of the ministers whom I can’t mention now, who has the phone. He gave the phone sometime ago to that minister. So it is not really like he has had the phone for the past two weeks.”