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Police seize journalist's phone

by Tarisai Mudahondo
19 Jan 2020 at 16:42hrs | Views
Chiredzi based journalist Patrick Chitongo's phone was seized last week by ZRP Chiredzi, the gadget was suspected to have been used to steal a classified document from the Police force's district headquarters offices.

The Law and Order section applied to Court to have a Search Warrant,that would allow them to search and seize the journalist's phone from his house and office.

An order that they were granted by Chiredzi magistrate court Geraldina Mutsoto.

Bulawayo24 news has been informed that it is the second attempt by police to invade Chitongo's house after one such attempt was foiled by the journalist on techinalities on the search warrant in September last year.

Police brought a defective and deceiving Search Warrant, which stated that the force had received information that the journalist had stocks of illicit drugs(Mbanje) either at his house or office.

It further stated that the police was to search the house and seize the journalist's phone to establish whether there were any communications related to the selling of drugs,yet in actual fact they wanted the phone to find out whether there were any information concerning the leaked document.

Unfortunately, police wrote the wrong house address and the journalist refused them entry to his house.

 Nevertheless, they started to stalk the Chitongo and put him under constant surveillance untill he made a dramatic escape and went into hiding for two months

The journalist resurfaced after the Zimbabwe Union of Journakist Secretary General Foster Dongozi intervened and enganged Police headquarters in Harare over the issue.

The first attempt took place barely four days after the journalist published a document that was compiled by Ferret team,which comprises members of the dreaded CIO,Police,army and Prisons.It was addressed to the Joint Military Command(Joc) for emmediate actioning.

The document listed 7 people in Chiredzi who were eventually put under constant surveillance at their houses by the dreaded team.

The seven,including the journalist,were accused of keeping 21 armed terrorists from South Africa who had came into the country through undesignated entry points using three armoured vehicles.It later turned out that it was false as police failed to establish truth on the terrorists claim.

The document was compiled by a CIO operative who only signed the document as Inp Ncube and a police officer from the PISI department called Ndiripo.Ndiripo,together with other senior PISI members were eventually transferred to various stations after investigations proved that the document was fictitious.

"I am not moved at all by Police actions,they took my phone but what I know for certain is that the are just embarking on a futile exercise that will yield nothing at all." ,Chitongo said.

He added that, "What is very surprising is that Police are too worried about how the document leaked,but are not concerned about the possible loss of my life and six others due to the false and vengeful classified document which I also came across on social media."

The journalist's lawyer Job Sinhala confirmed the matter and castigated Police for victimising the journalist. "What I can only say is that this is victimisation at its highest order on the journalist by police.We are waiting to see what evidence they will bring to court.Taking a journalist's phone is tantamount to gaging the media.

His other lawyer Maboke remarked that the whole exercise was unlawful because there was no court order.

After the document went viral late last year,the Minister of Defence Oppar Muchinguri was quoted in a local daily paper disowning the document. "We don't write such kind of reports because w,e fear such leakages" Muchinguri told Newsday last year.

Source - Byo24News

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