Judge said CIO boss must answer questions about payment vouchers


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Justice Paddington Garwe ruled that the certificate issued by Nicholas Goche, Minister of State Security, claiming that information on the operations of the Central Intelligence Organization was privileged, was valid but the certificate did not exempt CIO boss Happyton Bonyongwe from answering questions on his role in the destruction of the payment vouchers.

The CIO had admitted destroying vouchers which showed payments to Ari Ben Menashe who had implicated Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai in a plot to assassinate President Robert Mugabe.

The judge did not think that the questions Tsvangirai’s lawyer George Bizos asked Bonyongwe regarding the vouchers would reveal the operations of the CIO.

Defence attorney Innocent Chagonda said that although Garwe had given the defence team permission to ask Bonyongwe about the vouchers, some of the questions they wanted to ask about the payments pertained to the operations of the CIO. He,therefore, believed that it would still be difficult to ask Bonyongwe questions about the vouchers.

The State appeared to be desperate to prove its case against Tsvangirai and his lieutenants Welshman Ncube and Renson Gasela and was reportedly trying to bring in a “surprise” witness, Edward Simms.

Simms was allegedly in the grainy video which showed Tsvangirai and Menashe discussing the assassination plot. Simms was allegedly a Central Intelligence Agency operative but the CIA denied this.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 03HARARE1123, STATE TO PRODUCE SURPRISE WITNESS, JUDGE MAKES

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE1123

2003-06-03 15:26

2011-08-30 01:44

SECRET

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

S E C R E T HARARE 001123

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

BANGKOK FOR WIN DAYTON

DS/OP/AF

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2013

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: STATE TO PRODUCE SURPRISE WITNESS, JUDGE MAKES

DIPLOMATIC RULING – TSVANGIRAI TREASON TRIAL WEEK ELEVEN

 

REF: A. HARARE 1024

B. HARARE 946

C. HARARE 568

D. HARARE 484

E. HARARE 360

F. HARARE 313

G. HARARE 250

 

Classified By: Political Officer Audu Besmer for reasons 1.5 b/d

 

Summary:

——–

 

1. (S) Although the Tsvangirai treason trial was brief during

the week of May 27 – 30, possibly in anticipation of the MDC

planned mass action, on May 29, the Deputy Canadian High

Commissioner informed us that according to Ottawa

intelligence sources, the prosecution intended to introduce

“Edward Simms” as a surprise witness in the coming days.

Simms attended the Montreal meeting; the State alleges he is

a CIA agent but has kept other details of his identity

secret. Bringing him forward now suggests the State is more

 

SIPDIS

desperate to prove its case. Justice Paddington Garwe ruled

that Brigadier Bonyongwe could not be compelled to answer

questions on the operations of the CIO, but should answer

questions on his role in the destruction of the payment

vouchers. End Summary.

 

Surprise State Witness?

———————–

 

2. (S) On May 29, the Deputy Canadian High Commissioner

informed us that according to Ottawa intelligence sources,

the prosecution intended to introduce a surprise witness this

week, and Ottawa suspected the witness to be the heretofore

not-clearly-identified “Edward Simms”. (Note: According to

the State’s star witness Ari Ben Menashe, the leader of the

Montreal meeting depicted on the video tape is “Edward

Simms”, an employee of the CIA. The defense has published an

artist’s rendering of “Simms” based on the grainy video in an

attempt to identify him. End Note.) By June 2, however, the

State had not produced Simms. (It is also possible that the

State intends another “surprise” unrelated to Simms to

bolster its case.)

 

Judge Issues Diplomatic Ruling

——————————

 

3. (U) Also on May 29, Justice Paddington Garwe ruled that

the certificate issued by Nicholas Goche, Minister of State

Security – claiming that information on the operations of the

Central Intelligence Organization was privileged – was valid

(Ref A). Garwe did note, however, that the certificate could

not exempt Brigadier Bonyongwe from answering questions on

his role in the destruction of the payment vouchers. Garwe

did not think that the questions Advocate Bizos asked

Bonyongwe regarding the vouchers would reveal the operations

of the CIO.

 

4. (C) According to defense attorney Innocent Chagonda,

although Garwe had given the defense team permission to ask

Bonyongwe about the vouchers, some of the questions they

wanted to ask about the payments did pertain to the

operations of the CIO. Chagonda believed it would still be

difficult to ask Bonyongwe questions about the vouchers.

 

Comment:

——–

 

5. (S) The CIA has confirmed that Simms is not an employee.

As such his bona fides are questionable, and it is unclear

what value to the State he would be as a witness. We presume

his arrival was delayed and he still may come in the coming

days. It would appear the State was reluctant to bring him

forward, or he personally did not want to come forward

previously. Either way, that he now may appear suggests the

State is taking more desperate measures to prove its case.

Garwe appears to have made a diplomatic decision on the

certificate issued by Minister Goche to appease both parties

– he upheld it, but also stated that the defense could

proceed with their questioning. End Comment.

SULLIVAN

(583 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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