Harare, Zimbabwe. Picture: MOELETSI MABE
Harare, Zimbabwe. Picture: MOELETSI MABE

Harare — Zimbabwe’s former vice-president, Phelekezela Mphoko, is now a “fugitive of justice”, the state-controlled newspaper Chronicle reported, citing Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission spokesperson John Makamure.

Mphoko lost his job when former president Robert Mugabe was ousted in November 2017. On Tuesday, he was driving to a meeting with anti-corruption officials in the city of Bulawayo when he made a U-turn and fled, Makamure told the newspaper.

Mphoko “fears for his life” after the anti-corruption commission changed the location of the meeting and instructed him to go to a police station, said his lawyer, Zibusiso Ncube.

The commission has accused Mphoko of unlawfully ordering junior police officers to release a senior government official from custody.

“The whole thing is political and the charges are preposterous,” Ncube said. “We want to defend our case, but they reneged on meeting on neutral ground at the last minute. A police station isn’t neutral, it isn’t safe.”

If caught and arrested, Mphoko will be the second high-ranking official charged by the anti-corruption commission in two months. Last month, officials arrested tourism minister Prisca Mupfumira after accusing her of misusing about $94m of state funds.