Wednesday, 18 March 2020

FIVE COPS NABBED OVER BRIBE


FIVE police officers on an illegal mining operation in Shurugwi have been arrested for allegedly taking a US$300 bribe to release gold ore, a Honda fit and a man suspected to have stolen gold ore from a mine they were operating from.

Richmore Banga (41), Butholizwe Zhou (30), Fidelis Chidavaenzi (32) all of police Support Unit Chikurubi in Harare and Alous Chipato (36) and Decide Kabvudura (31) both of Support Unit Fairbridge in Bulawayo appeared before Gweru Magistrate, Mr Edwin Marecha, facing charges of criminal abuse of office.

Banga, Zhou, Chidavaenzi, Chipato and Kabvudura pleaded not guilty to the charges.  
They were remanded out of custody on $2000 bail to April 16 for trial.

Prosecutor, Ms Constance Madzudzu said Banga, Zhou and Chidavaenzi reside at ZRP Chikurubi while Chipato and Kabvudura live at ZRP Fairbridge and are all attached to police Support Unit.

The complainant is the State represented by Chief Superintendent Tom Mandela who is currently attached to operation Chikorokoza ngachipere in Shurugwi.

The court heard that on March 14, the five accused persons were allegedly deployed at Show Mining claims and were under the command of Chief Supt Mandela. 

During the operation, they allegedly stopped a Honda fit which was being driven by Patrick Maredza.

Chief Supt Mandela, the court heard, allegedly searched the vehicle and together with the five accused persons observed that there were small sacks containing gold ore which all weighed about 200kg and cash amounting to $4001.

Ms Madzudzu said Chief Supt Mandela allegedly directed the unit headed by Banga to escort the said vehicle to Show business centre as they suspected that Maredza could have stolen the gold ore he was in possession of.

The impounded vehicle and the suspect were allegedly escorted by Zhou, Chipato and Kabvundura from the point of arrest to Show Business Centre.

On arrival at the business centre, Zhou allegedly briefed Banga of a $10 000 bribe offer by the suspect.

Banga then allegedly instructed Zhou to facilitate the release of the impounded vehicle and the suspect. 

Ms Madzudzu said Banga directed the other accused persons to collect the offered bribe money and release the vehicle and Maredza who paid them US$300.

She told the court that upon arrival at ZRP Shurugwi police station from the operation, Chief Supt Mandela asked Banga about the suspect and the impounded vehicle.

Banga allegedly responded by texting him on his mobile phone that the money for the Honda Fit was ready for him to collect.

Zhou allegedly handed over US$300 to Chidavaenzi to hand over to Chief Supt Mandela.

The court heard that Chidavaenzi was summoned by Chief Supt Enhia Muzvidziwa who recovered the money leading to the arrest of the officers.

The recovered gold ore, ZW$4001 and the vehicle were also recovered. Chronicle

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