A TOP private hospital yesterday filed a police report against MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai after he sneaked out of the institution in the morning without settling a US$2 600 bill. The case was filed under docket number CR240, with the former Prime Minister in the inclusive Government facing charges under section 117 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act which criminalises making off without payment.
A hospital official said they had also been struggling to get another senior MDC-T official (name supplied) to pay bills dating back to the time of the inclusive Government.
Mr Tsvangirai was discharged from Trauma Centre and Hospital in Harare at around 10am yesterday and was asked to pay slightly over US$2 600 before leaving.
Hospital authorities said a nurse helped him escape via the laundry room, which is near the high-care unit that he was admitted to.
The nurse also informed Mr Tsvangirai that a police report had been made.
She has since been suspended pending a disciplinary hearing.
Mr Tsvangirai’s sudden appearance in the laundry room caught laundry room staff by surprise and he breezed past them, exited to the car park where a “getaway” vehicle was idling, and sped off before anyone could react.
A report was then made at Avondale Police Station.
After hours of trying to plead with the hospital to withdraw the charges, party official Mrs Theresa Makoni paid the bill after family members scraped together what Mr Tsvangirai owed.
The police complaint was then withdrawn.
An MDC-T official who went to the hospital upon Mr Tsvangirai’s discharge said they had failed to put together the money, and then tried to get hold of former Harare mayor Mr Muchadeyi Masunda to come to their rescue.
“(Mr) Masunda was not reachable and somebody suggested that we sneak out and then pay the money later,” the MDC-T official said.
A hospital official told The Herald, “He (Mr Tsvangirai) was admitted on Saturday into the general wards, and on Sunday we moved him to the high-care unit. We were treating him for poisoning.
“We discharged him (yesterday) morning but him and his people couldn’t pay the bill. They called someone who they said was from their treasurer’s department and she told us that they had no money, but would pay later.
“While we were negotiating with her, Tsvangirai and some of his people slipped out through the laundry room. It was an escape, he ran away without paying.
“We have a VIP entrance, but he did not use it. He ran away through the laundry room. So we made a police report.”
When The Herald arrived at the hospital, three police officers were speaking to staff and inspecting the laundry room and narrow passageway through which Mr Tsvangirai fled.
“We are having serious problems with these MDC guys. We are now going to be strict with them when it comes to payment. (Another senior official) still owes us from the times we treated him when he was a minister. He also owes us,” she disclosed.
Trauma Centre owner Dr Vivek Solanki refused to comment citing doctor-patient confidentiality.
Mr. Tsvangirai is understood to have fallen on hard times financially in the wake of donor flight that followed his crushing loss to President Mugabe in last year’s harmonised elections.
A relative close to developments yesterday confirmed the former Prime Minister was broke.
“He is broke. It is not a laughing matter at all considering the state of the economy. All is not well. As relatives we have since contributed money towards the settlement of the hospital bill,” the relative said.
The Herald is also reliably informed that Mr. Tsvangirai’s estranged wife, Ms Elizabeth Macheka, was on her way back to the matrimonial home to nurse her ailing hubby.
“Relatives engaged her over how it would not look good for her to continue staying away from home when her husband is unwell. She took the advice and is on her way to their Highlands home as we speak. She has been visiting her husband in hospital as well and this helped him recover.”
It is believed that when Ms Macheka left home she took a substantial amount of money in cash that Mr. Tsvangirai kept at home.
Not too long ago, Mr. Tsvangirai was able to splash cash on a jet-set lifestyle that saw him take ocean cruises with some of his many lovers.
He paid off one of them, Ms Lorcadia Karimatsanga Tembo with a reported US$300 000 to end their very brief marriage so that he could hook up with Ms Macheka.
Mr Tsvangirai has also been selling off cattle from the section of Gabbari Farm, 33km outside Kwekwe towards Nkayi, that he rents from Mr. Farai Mwazha.
Earlier this year, a farm hand of his – Mr. Elliot Siwela – said about a year ago there were 400 beasts on the farm, but the herd had been depleted to less than 90, with 100 head sold in January and February.