POLICE have arrested a general hand at the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) Victoria Falls after he allegedly issued counterfeit certificates of competence to 30 drivers whom he charged $300 each.
Maxwell Mutsikiwa, 40, was arrested after some of the forged certificates, which are issued while one awaits his or her driver’s licence to be processed, were recovered in Gweru and Zvishavane in the Midlands Province, raising fears several drivers could be using fake documents.
Mutsikiwa, allegedly stole an RTLD 4 Book with 100 pages of certificate of competency and issued out 30 of them, with only five being recovered. He was charged with theft and forgery when he appeared before Victoria Falls magistrate Ms Rangarirai Gakanje yesterday.
He pleaded not guilty to both crimes.
The court denied Mutsikiwa bail as he was considered a flight risk as he has previous convictions. The court also said he might influence witnesses since the majority of the counterfeit documents were not recovered.
“In my assessment, I find that accused person’s release will indeed be prejudicial in the proper administration of justice.
“His likelihood of interference is high as the investigations are still in progress and according to the investigating officer, the accused is being sought by members of the public as he is failing to pay.
“Furthermore, this appears a serious offence with its effects putting the nation as a whole at risk. Bail is therefore denied,” said Ms Gakanje. Trial will start on August 12.
Prosecutor Mr Takunda Ndovorwi said the offences were committed between January 31, 2016 and July 27.
“The accused took a RTLD 4 Book 9 Certificate of Competency with serial numbers 120601-120700 DG which was in the lawful custody of Mr Albert Chinaka and intending to deprive the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.
“He issued forged certificates of competence to several people purporting to be a VID officer,” said Mr Ndovorwi. The court was told that forged certificates issued to Kudzaishe Kupfurira, Owen Gibson, Tonderai Chikande, Phanuel Banda and Eshwin Mukudu were recovered.
The stolen 100-page book was recovered with 30 pages missing and investigations showed that the missing pages were not in the VID system.
Mutsikiwa isn’t new to court after he was in 2012 convicted for causing a fire that burnt a section of the VID Gweru depot where he was then stationed, damaging three vehicles in the process.
At that time he was sentenced to six months in jail which were wholly suspended on condition he paid $875 compensation. chronicle