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Farm Equipment Case Against Ex-Deputy Minister Matonga Takes New Turn

Former Deputy Minister Bright Matonga Released On US$600 Bail
Former Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga was on Thursday, June 27, granted US$600 bail by the Chegutu Magistrates’ Court following his arrest on Tuesday on two counts of theft.

Harare, Zimbabwe – New information has surfaced regarding the case of former Deputy Minister Bright Matonga. It appears Matonga was unaware of any pending charges against him despite multiple interactions with the police in the months leading up to his arrest.

Matonga was arrested last week on charges of stealing nearly US$500,000 worth of farm equipment from Dave Van Breda, with whom he had a Joint Venture agreement. The state alleges that after a disagreement over unpaid dues, Van Breda attempted to reclaim his equipment, but Matonga seized some of it.

However, investigations suggest that Matonga did not seize the equipment. Sources indicate that the joint venture ended in October 2021 after Van Breda was given a season’s notice to cease operations, and the equipment was not stolen but remained at the farm.

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The equipment was reportedly given as security due to unpaid debts over four seasons, according to documents reviewed. Van Breda allegedly tried to remove the equipment before settling the transaction but was stopped by Saruwe police. He then reported the matter to ZRP Chegutu, who deemed it a civil case. Van Breda’s subsequent urgent High Court application in December 2021 was unsuccessful.

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In court, investigating officers claimed Matonga and his associates were evasive during visits to the farm. However, new details reveal that Matonga had visited the Chegutu Police Station multiple times, most recently in early May. Senior police officers had also visited Matonga’s farm to collect maize meal, according to an inventory provided.

The police claimed they visited Matonga’s farm several times but did not find him there. A source alleges that Officer in Charge Garaweni and Superintendent Sibanda committed perjury, as they had visited Chigwell farm to collect 200 kilograms of maize.

Additionally, the police were reportedly unaware of any pending case against Matonga until his recent arrest. Matonga has since been released on bail.

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