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Bribery cops acquitted

by Staff reporter
21 Nov 2022 at 04:56hrs | Views
TWO Gweru-based police officers, accused of receiving a US$480 bribe to facilitate the release of two suspects who were arrested for stealing coal, have been acquitted.

Munyaradzi Kutsirai (34), Peter Kaguru (39), who are both police constables, were facing bribery charges.

They were acquitted by Gweru Magistrate Ms Ruvimbo Murandu after she noted inconsistencies in the State's case. Kutsirai and Kaguru, through their lawyer Mr Esau Mandipa of Mutatu and Mandipa Law Chambers, had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

"All five State witnesses who were called by the State to give evidence gave different versions of the same case. There were also inconsistencies in the denominations of the bills that were said to have been handed to the accused persons," said Ms Murandu.

According to court papers, it was stated that on September 18, Kutsirai and Kaguru who are detectives attached to the minerals, flora and fauna unit,  allegedly solicited and demanded US$480 from Siphephile Ndlovu after they spotted the complainant at a local wholesale near Gweru Central Police Station.

The court heard that US$280 was handed over to Kutsirai at Silver dry car sale opposite Gweru Central Police Station and another US$200 at Metro Peech wholesale in Gweru.

"The bribe was paid to facilitate the release of Mthokozisi Sibanda and Fana Gumbo who had been arrested for the theft of coal," read the court papers.

On September 16 shortly before 5 PM, Kutsirai arrested and detained Sibanda and Gumbo at Gweru Central under detention book numbers 3317/21 and 3316/21 respectively. Two days later, James Chiza, a friend of Sibanda visited the two detectives at their offices at Development House to enquire about the theft case.

Chiza met the two when they were going out of their office and Kutsirai allegedly told him to bring US$600 so that they facilitate the release of Sibanda and Gumbo.

"On the same day, Chiza met Sibanda's mother and wife at Gweru Central Police station and told them that the arresting officers wanted US$500 to facilitate the release of Sibanda and Gumbo," read court papers.

That same day, Sibanda and Gumbo were taken to court. Sibanda's mother and wife were asked to follow them to court.

While Kaguru was in court with the two accused persons, Kutsirai approached Chiza and allegedly asked him if they had US$500.

Chiza allegedly went to Silver Dry car sale opposite Gweru Central Police station where a black Honda Fit vehicle was parked and Kutsirai was car handed over US$280.

Kutsirai said the money was not enough before Sibanda's mother called her uncle who send US$200 through a mobile money agency.

The money was handed over to the two police officers. The matter was reported to the police leading to the arrest of Kutsirai and Kaguru.

Source - The Chronicle