Zvamaida Murwira – Senior Reporter
The Zimbabwe Republic Police is investigating a case in which a Harare lawyer, Mr Meluleke Lunga, is alleged to have filed papers in the High Court purportedly from the Civil Division of the Attorney General’s Office on the instruction of suspended Registrar General, Clemence Masango, to have a Chinese national’s citizenship nullified.
Upon filing the papers, Mr Lunga is alleged to have accosted the Chinese national, Mr Bruce Charles, also known as Zhu Bu, demanding US$40 000 as bribe to have the matter withdrawn.
In the papers he filed before the High Court, which now formed part of the record, Mr Lunga is alleged to have claimed that Mr Bruce was an illegal immigrant who had irregularly acquired Zimbabwean identification particulars and used them to attain shareholding in several firms.
It is alleged that Mr Lunga misrepresented that the RG’s office wanted an order declaring null and void Mr Bruce’s Zimbabwean national identity, passport and driver’s licence.
In a new twist of events, Masango who is on suspension over allegations of abuse of office, says he never made such an application.
He has since made a police report.
Police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, confirmed the report yesterday.
“Yes, as police we confirm receiving such a report from Registrar General’s office Mr Clemence Masango, alleging that one Meluleke Lunga fraudulently filed an application for a declaratory order at the High Court purporting to be the RG and seeking the cancellation of one Bruce Charles’ birth certificates, national identity, passport and drivers’ licence.
Police are investigating the matter and no arrests have been made so far,” said Ass Comm Nyathi.
Mr Lunga was not picking his phone and did respond to messages sent to him.
According to a police report filed by Masango on August 13, a court application was made at the High Court.
“On its face, the said court application purports to have been prepared and filed by the Civil Division of the Attorney General’s Office on my instruction against one Bruce Charles. To the application is attached a founding affidavit which purports to have been deposed to by me in support of the aforementioned application,” reads the report.
He said he had neither instructed the Civil Division of the Attorney General’s office to make any such application nor deposed to the affidavit that is attached to it, neither does he know Mr Charles and circumstances giving rise to the application.
“Both the application and its founding affidavit are forgeries made with the deliberate intention to fraudulently mislead the High Court and the Respondent into thinking that my office filed same,” he said.
Masango said on August 13, Mr Bruce’s lawyer alerted his attorneys about the application before he was informed.
He, together with his lawyer, eventually met legal practitioners for Mr Bruce on August 17.
“The information available to me suggests that the said Mr Lunga accosted Mr Charles Bruce and told him that if he paid a bribe of US$40 000, I would withdraw the application.”
On August 17 around 1700hrs, Mr Lunga contacted Masango’s attorney, Mr Mutema over the phone and confessed to the forgeries and proceeded to request that he be forgiven for his “mistakes.”
Said Masango: Mr Lunga is not known to me either personally or professionally and at the time of making this report, I have had no communication with him either directly or indirectly. Mr Lunga’s forgeries are aggravated by the fact that they suggest that I am corrupt and that my office abuses court process to extort unsuspecting members of the pubic into paying bribes.
They also suggest that the office of the Attorney General is complicit in this criminal enterprise. The overall effect of the forgeries is to besmirch the good name and standing of my office, my person and that of the Attorney General’s office. Furthermore, had Mr Lunga’s conduct not been exposed for what it is; Mr Bruce Charles would have been prejudiced of US$40 000.”