Wednesday, 5 May 2021

EX COP TURNED CATTLE RUSTLER FREEDOM BID FAILS

A former policeman serving 18 years in jail for cattle rustling, Tapiwa Mandima, had his application for bail pending appeal against both conviction and sentence imposed on him thrown out by the High Court.

Mandima was convicted along with fellow policeman Promise Chifodya, on two counts of stock theft and extortion charges. They were both stationed at Fort Rixon Police Station.

The trial court sentenced them to 18 years in jail each on stock theft charges. Additionally, the court imposed two years each for extortion charges, leaving them with a 20-year sentence in prison.

Mandima’s bid for bail pending appeal failed after Justice Joseph Musakwa last week ruled that he enjoyed no prospects of success on appeal on the two counts of stock theft.

Justice Musakwa also refused to grant Mandima’s application saying his appeal was ready for hearing and it was not clear why he was not seeking that it be set down for hearing.

“Where an appeal enjoys no prospects of success, it follows that the likelihood of abscondment is high,” said Justice Musakwa.

 The trial court heard that sometime in 2017, the complainant Mr Mahoni Mtambo reported to police at Fort Rixon that he had three stray stock among his herd which were a cow, steer and one calf.

Police registered the cattle as found property under number 20/17 and gave them to Mtambo to be the keeper.

In March 2018, the pair who were deployed at PBS police base, got to know of the existence of the three stray cattle at Mtambo’s homestead and connived to steal them.

In the same month, the duo reportedly approached Ms Tracy Dube, operator of Yellow Mark Butchery at PBS Business Centre and told her they were selling some cattle and could buy them if she was interested.

Together with Ms Dube, the two went to Mtambo’s homestead where they told him they were duly authorised to dispose of the stray cattle.

After viewing the cattle, the two cops gave the complainant a calf as a reward for looking after the cattle before selling one ox for US$350 to Ms Dube. They also sold another cow for US$200.

To cover up their actions, the two completed a police livestock clearance certificate form purporting that the stray cattle were claimed by the owner, Mr Paulos Dlamini, of Mbethe Village in Mbembesi.

The two also made two fake affidavits which they used to clear records for found property book entry number 20/17.

They were also caught up in an extortion storm after they threatened one Bekithemba Ndlovu with arrest if he did not pay US$400 for keeping the “stolen” stock. The duo was arrested after Mtambo filed a police report. Herald

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