Sunday, 20 December 2015

Drama in London as Trevor Carelse-Juul tries to assault Lance Guma

There was drama in central London on Friday night when businessman and former Zimbabwe Football Association president Trevor Carelse-Juul tried to assault Nehanda Radio and TV Managing Editor Lance Guma during an interview.

The Nehanda TV interview, conducted at the Royal Institute of British Architects building near Oxford Circus in London, initially started well. Things however took a dramatic turn when after 12 minutes Guma asked about allegations that Carelse-Juul’s company had been corruptly awarded the Angwa City building project on the back of having paid bribes.

Central to the charges, made in 1999, were claims that payments were made to a company ‘owned’ by Sipepa Nkomo’s wife just when Nkomo (head of the Mining Industry Pension Fund – MIPF) awarded the contract to Juul’s company SBT Juul Africa to build Angwa City.

Carelse-Juul was not happy about the question and the drama began.

Below is a full statement from Lance Guma on what happened.

I’ve been a journalist for nearly 18 years and in all that time I have never had an interviewee try to beat me up because I asked them a difficult question. But this Friday I had a multi-millionaire lose his cool, feign head-butting me and charging towards me several times while threatening to beat me up for allegedly being “a confused young man.”
Watch the full video below article
Lance Guma and Trevor Carelse-Juul before the drama
This week I received an email from Trevor Carelse-Juul’s camp requesting an interview. Initially it was meant to be at his house in St John’s Wood in London but then it was moved to a room at the Royal Institute of British Architects where I’m told Carelse-Juul is a member. I arrived on time and duly set up my camera, lights and other equipment.

For the first 12 minutes the interview went well and he was cheerful. Carelse-Juul had already made allegations that the man who beat him to the Zifa presidency early this month, Phillip Chiyangwa, had in fact bribed the Zifa councillors who voted.

It was therefore a legitimate question to ask Carelse-Juul about claims made in 1999 and repeated this year by veteran journalist Geoff Nyarota, in the run-up to the Zifa elections, that Carelse Juul had also bribed his way into securing the contract to manage the multi-million dollar Angwa City project.

After a few minutes of effectively waffling through an answer, I persisted in pinning him down on the central issue which is that payments were made to a company ‘owned’ by Sam Sipepa Nkomo’s wife just when Nkomo (head of the Mining Industry Pension Fund – MIPF) awarded the contract to Juul’s company SBT Juul Africa to build Angwa City.

As you may have seen from the video, Carelse-Juul stood up and ran straight to my camera and switched it off. He attempted to delete the memory card and I rushed to protect both camera and card. Although he had switched off the camera I was running an audio recorder as a backup and so kept this running to capture the chaos that ensued.

On several occasions Carelse-Juul charged towards me while threatening to beat me up. I stood my ground and made it clear I could defend myself. He had to be restrained by his own Public Relations (PR) guy on more than three occasions. He then had the nerve to rush to the reception area and report to building security that I had tried to assault him.

Five security guards burst into the room trying to figure out what was happening. The guards did their best to calm the situation down. When they saw I was a journalist with all my recording equipment they quickly sussed out that they had been lied to. I packed my equipment under the supervision of the guards and left the building.

I was tipped by a good Samaritan who over heard Carelse-Juul assigning someone to do everything in their power to grab the memory card from me while I walked to the train station. I don’t like using my car when I travel to London because of the traffic jams.

I made a big noise about my plight on social media just to make sure friends and family knew my situation, I was not taking any chances. Realising he would not be getting the memory card, Carelse-Juul then later sent a message threatening legal action if we broadcast the Nehanda TV interview and the audio recording of the altercation.

My response is that we will meet in court. We are going to run the entire TV interview unedited and will include the entire audio of the altercation at the end as one package. I’m not afraid of going to court. Journalists are not there to pander to the whims of the rich and powerful. Our role is to shine a spotlight on issues and make leaders accountable….simple.
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