Yemurai Ushamba, Chronicle Reporter
FORMER Police Commissioner-General Dr Augustine Chihuri who was said to be in “hiding,” yesterday sent his lawyer to court to answer to a $240 000 maintenance claim made by his mistress, Ms Sithulisiwe Mthimkhulu.
Dr Chihuri disappeared from the public space when he retired as the head of the country’s police force in December last year.
He has also failed to attend parliamentary hearings, where he had been summoned to testify.
Dr Chihuri’s mistress through her lawyer Mr Godfrey Nyoni of Moyo and Nyoni Associates last week revealed that she was failing to serve him with maintenance summons.
Ms Mthimkhulu is demanding a $240 000 lump sum from Dr Chihuri for the upkeep of their child doing Grade Four.
After failing to serve Dr Chihuri with summons Mr Nyoni resorted to a public notice in the Press to notify Dr Chihuri of his pending court case.
She notified him that he risked a default judgment if he failed to show up.
Dr Chihuri, through his lawyer Mr Arthur Marara of Mutamangira and Associates petitioned Bulawayo magistrate Miss Sharon Rosemani to make the matter private as it was attracting “unnecessary” attention to his client.
“The matter is attracting a lot of media attention and we are trying to minimise it since this matter involves a child.
“We are also trying to protect the interest of the child. My client is still a public figure, a former police Commissioner and this can also damage his image,” said Mr Marara.
Mr Nyoni agreed that the matter should be confidential as it could also damage the reputation of his client, who is a senior police officer.
Miss Rosemani granted permission for the case to be heard confidentially before demanding that third parties vacate the court room.
A Chronicle news crew was among the people who were in the gallery who left court as the proceedings continued.
However, court papers that the news crew saw showed that the two parties agreed for an out of court settlement on the matter.
“By consent parties agreed to meet and do an out of court settlement and report back on May 14,” read the court papers.
Recently police said Dr Chihuri’s whereabouts were not known as they had failed to locate him to appear before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy.
His successor Commissioner General Godwin Matanga told legislators that he had unsuccessfully tried to locate his former boss.
Dr Chihuri did not turn up for the first hearing on March 16 when he was supposed to appear before the committee, along with Commissioner General Matanga, and former Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo.
He again failed to turn up on March 23, prompting committee chair Mr Temba Mliswa to order Comm Gen Matanga to leave no stone unturned in his search for Dr Chihuri.
Yesterday, he again failed to appear before the committee.