NewsDay deputy editor Nqaba Matshazi and reporter Xolisani Ncube were yesterday arrested on allegations of publishing falsehoods after they published a story alleging that members of the Central Intelligence Organisation were secretly paid their annual bonuses last year. The two are expected to appear in court today facing allegations of communicating or publishing false statements prejudicial to the State.
Matshazi and Ncube were yesterday taken to the Harare Magistrates’ Courts, but their case could not be heard as they were referred back to the Prosecutor General’s Office. Police chief spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed the arrest.
“I can confirm the two were arrested over a story in which they claimed that members of the Central Intelligence Organisation were secretly paid their annual bonuses, while payment of other civil servants’ salaries was done this week,” she said. “We want journalists to be responsible and report truthfully and remember that those who enforce the law will arrest them if they publish falsehoods.”
Snr Asst Comm Charamba said the story was likely to cause turmoil given that civil servants are yet to be paid bonuses and some had just received their December salaries.
The story published on Wednesday was headlined: “CIOs ‘secretly’ get bonuses” and chided government for paying the alleged bonuses to members of the organisation while postponing salaries for other civil servants.
The story read: “The government last year quietly paid Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives their annual bonuses, yet postponed, several times, paying the salaries of civil servants, only releasing the payments yesterday, a development that is likely to spark a rebuke from other public sector workers. While most civil servants were penniless during the festive season, members of the CIO received their December salaries on December 21 and their bonuses 10 days later, insiders have revealed.”
Police said the story was not factual as members of the CIO like the rest of the civil servants are yet to be paid bonuses.