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Inquiry into cop 'chewing' receipt to conceal evidence blocked

by Staff reporter
24 Aug 2018 at 05:48hrs | Views
THE High Court has blocked Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga from setting up a board of inquiry to probe a junior traffic cop who under-receipted a fine paid by a tourist and later swallowed the doctored traffic ticket to conceal the evidence after he was cornered over the offence.

Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese interdicted Comm-Gen Matanga from holding the board of inquiry on the suitability of Constable Vusumuzi Ncube (28) pending his appeal against his conviction and sentence.

Const Ncube of ZRP of Kamativi Camp was convicted of fraud and fined $300 or 30 days imprisonment by Hwange magistrate Ms Rose Dube after he waved down motorist, Mr Soren Lindstrom, at Cross Mabale on 13 March last year and ordered him to pay a fine for driving a car without lug nuts.

The ruling by Justice Makonese follows an urgent chamber application by Const Ncube through his lawyer Mr Kholwani Ngwenya of TJ Mabhikwa and Partners, citing Comm-Gen Matanga and one Chief Superintendent Nyapfuri, as respondents.  He sought an order barring the respondents from conducting the inquiry pending his appeal against his conviction and sentence filed at the Bulawayo High Court.

"The first respondent (Comm-Gen Matanga) be and is hereby interdicted from convening a board of inquiry in respect of the suitability of the applicant pending finalisation of applicant's appeal under case number HCA59/18," ruled Justice Makonese.

In his founding affidavit, Const Ncube, who has been with the police for four years, said on March 17, 2017, he appeared before a police disciplinary hearing officer, one Superintendent Musemwa of ZRP Hwange station, charged with contravening paragraph 34 of the schedule to the Police Act.

"I was duly convicted on May 11 in 2017 and was fined $10. I filed an appeal with the first respondent (Comm-Gen Matanga). First respondent set aside my conviction and acquitted me on September 13, 2017 being the convening order," he said.

Const Ncube said on May 2, 2018, he was convicted of fraud by Ms Dube based on the same circumstances and fined $300 or 30 days in jail.

"I filed my notice of appeal with the court and the appeal is pending being the notice and grounds of appeal." Const Ncube argued that he had been served with a notice to appear before a board of inquiry based on his conviction in the magistrates' court despite his appeal which is pending at the High Court.

"Should the board of inquiry proceed, which as stated, is unlawful, I may be irreparably prejudiced as I might lose my job. Wherefore I pray for an interdict, interdicting the second respondent (Chief Supt Nyapfuri) from convening a board of inquiry on suitability before my appeal is heard."

According to court papers, on March 13 last year, Const Ncube, together with his six accomplices, were deployed at Cross Mabale along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road for traffic enforcement duties. Const Ncube arrested Mr Lindstrom, a tourist at Hwange National Park Lodge, who was driving a Toyota Land Cruiser with Botswana number plates, whom he charged for having no lock nuts.

Mr Lindstrom complied and Const Ncube receipted $40 on the duplicate copy of the ticket he gave to the motorist, while the top copy indicated $10. Mr Lindstrom was later tipped by an official at the lodge that the fine of $40 was illegal.

He drove back to the roadblock and confronted Const Ncube, who in turn asked for the copy of receipt he gave him before he chewed it to destroy the evidence.  A report was made to the police leading to Const Ncube's arrest.


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