Former tourism minister Dr. Walter Mzembi not responsible in a UNWTO Normal Meeting-related crime hunt in Zimbabwe
Dr. Walter Mzembi was one of the longest serving tourism ministers in the world. He was also foreign minister in Zimbabwe. He was charged with corruption on the basis of false allegations in connection with a UNWTO general assembly in Zimbabwe-Zambia. He is now acquitted of any wrongdoing.
- Former Minister of Tourism Dr. Walter Mzembi from Zimbabwe was exiled for 3 years and acquitted of all charges in a Zimbabwe High Court.
- This is a great day for justice and once again reveals the questionable electoral process at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) that brought Zurab Pololikashvili to power.
- Mzembi was instrumental in the current COVID-19 discussion behind the scenes. Making amends for his name could be Dr. Giving Mzembi the opportunity to bring their experience to the future of the travel and tourism industry or perhaps to their beloved country, Zimbabwe.
Dr. Mzembi has always been accepted and admired by his colleagues from all over the world. During his tenure as minister, he traveled the world and spoke at many important events.
His friends often told him in public that he was one of the best tourism ministers in the world, but unfortunately from the “wrong” country.
Dr. Mzembi is a global man. In 2017 he was runner-up as a candidate for Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization. He fought for this post and gave everything and more – he actually gave up his freedom.
He understood the manipulation of the current general secretary, Zurab Pololikashvili, to win the election. Against all odds, Mzembi won the UNWTO election in second place. Mzembi fought to the end, calling Zurab’s activities by their real name – fraud.
He gave in to Zurab at the General Assembly in Chengdu, China, and promised that if he withdrew his objection, he would head a committee to change the UNWTO’s electoral system. It never happened because Mzembi’s government was taken over in a military operation.
Instead of receiving a patriotic homecoming, Mzembi was charged with criminal activities related to its role as host of the 2013 UNWTO General Assembly in Zambia and Zimbabwe.
How this happened, and how this may be related to the 2017 UNWTO elections, when Mzembi competed with the current UNWTO Secretary General, has never been made clear in public and is full of rumors.
The 57-year-old, who now lives in South Africa, was arrested after the late President Robert Mugabe was deposed in a military coup in November 2017.
Now, 4 years after the fall of the Mzembi government, he has been finally acquitted by the High Court in Zimbabwe, suggesting that the hands of former Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi “remain white as snow”. He was acquitted of all corruption charges.
Prosecutors accused him and four others, including then Minister of Tourism, Magret Mukahanana Sangarwe, of having converted four Ford Ranger vehicles that were purchased for planning and use during the United Nations World Tourism Organization conference held in Zimbabwe in 2013 .
Prosecutor General Kumbirai Hodzi then filed an application to confiscate the vehicles that he believed should have been handed over to the Ministry of Tourism at the end of the UNWTO conference.
But Harare High Court Judge David Mangota ruled in a ruling released this week that the attorney general had no reasonable interest in the vehicles, which were “never owned by the government” and which were in fact owned by a trust, which has a mandate, for a long time to come continue after the UNWTO event.
The judge ruled: “The attorney general’s testimony that the defendants broke government proceedings by not handing the vehicles over to the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality after the conference is difficult to understand, let alone accept …
“He does not quote the circular, ordinance, rule, or law that respondents should have obeyed. He does not provide any evidence to support the allegation that the defendants should have turned the vehicles over to the government after the incident. “
Mangota said the trust deed indicated that the government clearly wanted to separate donations to the trust from the tourism department. The Trust – with eight trustees – would receive and pay off funds to prepare for the conference, stand in after the conference, and keep the remainder of any donations it raised for the conference as a reservoir for tracking future activities of the Trust related to tourism and Hospitality, the judge stated.
In fact, it was never the government’s intention to dissolve the trust at the end of the conference. It was also not intended that the donations received in preparation for the conference would be passed on to the government after the event. In fact, it appears that the attorney general’s intention is to take the confidence of his automobiles, ”the judge said.
Mangota said it was “difficult to condone, let alone accept” Hodzi’s “unfortunate” decision to label Mzembi and the trust’s other beneficiaries as “thieves” when “he could not prove their alleged unwholesome behavior”.
Mangota added, “Respondents apparently did not steal anyone’s property. Your use of the vehicles after the conference is nowhere near an offense of theft or theft of trusts. They allowed the vehicles to remain registered in the name of the trust to which they belong. Your behavior is not that of a thief. The elements of theft do not exist at all …
“Given an objective analysis of the circumstances of this application, therefore, none of the respondents could have committed a crime. The behavior of each of them is good. No element of a crime is associated with any of them. Your hands stay white as snow. You are clean. As a result, the application will be rejected for a fee. “
The attorney general dropped the charges against Mzembi, Sangarwe, Sussana Makome Kuhudzayi, Aaron Dzingira Mushoriwa and Gray Hama prior to the initiation of confiscation proceedings. According to Justice Mangota, “he had no choice but to withdraw, as he deliberately did.”