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A sugarcane farmer stood up and told former police chief Edmund Veterai that he was a corrupt Zanu PF official in the habit of abusing government resources to have anybody arrested or killed, a local court heard on Monday.

Faster Gono appeared before Masvingo magistrate Oliver Mudzongachiso facing criminal defamation charges.

He is accused of distributing documents to members of the Zimbabwe Sugarcane Development Association (ZSDA) stating that former police Senior Assistant Commissioner Veterai was corrupt.

Gono said Veterai, who is the association chairman, wanted him dead for possessing evidence that could prove that the top ex- cop was involved in corrupt activities.

Both Gono and Veterai are members of the 250 member association which is a grouping of indigenous sugarcane farmers in Chiredzi.

Gono could not be tried pending the outcome of a Constitutional Court ruling on criminal defamation law.

This is after four journalists in February filed an application with the highest court seeking an order declaring the law illegal in terms of the new Constitution.

Prosecutors say that on 20 June 2013, Gono, who is a retired captain in the army, wrote a defamatory document which he considered to be a letter of complaint against Veterai’s corrupt activities in the sugarcane town of Chiredzi.

Paragraph two of the document stated that Gono had evidence to the effect that Veterai wanted the ex-soldier dead.

“I have evidence to the effect that Veterai wanted to put me behind bars or, worse still, to kill me at the earliest opportunity a reliable source indicated that he had mobilised ZRP dogs (a government resource) to bite me,” reads part of the document.

In the document, Gono also claims that Veterai had paid eight police officers $55 each to have him arrested for “consistently, fearlessly and courageously voicing concerns” against his corrupt activities within the association.

Source : New Zimbabwe

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