Prosecutor Tapiwa Kasema Nowhere To Be Seen
17 December 2020
Spread the love

State Media

Tapiwa Kasema

PROSECUTOR Tapiwa Kasema, who is under investigation for consenting to bail for four notorious armed robbers led by suspected gang leader — Musa Taj Abdul — is reportedly on the run, hours after he was suspended from duty by Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi.

Officers from Harare Central Police Station, who were keen to question him as the investigation started yesterday, could not locate him at his Glen View 3 home where his family professed ignorance over his whereabouts.

Sources said the police first visited Kasema’s residence in 49th Crescent on Tuesday night, but did not find him.

They later proceeded to his mother’s house where the search yielded the same result.

Continued efforts to locate him yesterday were fruitless.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi could not comment on the issue yesterday, saying it was still premature.

Police sources, however, said authorities had since launched a manhunt for Kasema.

He was arrested in May last year on criminal abuse of office charges after he allegedly consented to the release of a passport belonging to former Cabinet minister Ignatius Chombo, who is facing a slew of corruption allegations.

Abdul (47) was on Monday granted bail by High Court Judge Justice Benjamin Chikowero along with co-accused Godfrey Mupamhanga (27), Rudolf Tapiwa Kanhanga (29) and Douglas Mutenda (31), but remained in custody as the four are facing fresh charges.

Before they could post bail money on Tuesday, police brought up fresh charges against the suspects and requested that they remain in custody pending their remand hearing on the new charges and further investigations.

The four were arrested in Beitbridge in August with five others — Charles Lundu (47), Tapiwa Mangoma alias Tapa (27), Innocent Jairosi (32), Prince Makodza (31) and Liberty Mupamhanga (29).

Chief Law Officer in the Prosecutor-General’s Office Mr Justin Uladi confirmed the suspension of Kasema, saying the matter has been referred to the police for investigations, while they are preparing to launch an appeal against the High Court decision.

“We are proceeding to suspend Tapiwa Kasema who consented to bail in the case of the armed robbers,” said Mr Uladi.

“We have further referred his case to the police for investigation because we are of the view that the consent was corruptly made.”

Mr Uladi said the State is appealing against Justice Chikowero’s decision to grant bail.

“Our prosecutor did not have the requisite authority to file the consent order as per our standard operating procedures,” he said.

“Further, the judge misdirected himself in relying on a concession which was improperly made. In an event the judge was not bound by the concession by the prosecutor. Therefore, the judge did not properly apply his mind to the case before him.”

Kasema made headlines when he was arrested last year on criminal abuse of office charges after he allegedly consented to the release of a passport belonging to former Cabinet minister Ignatius Chombo, who was facing several corruption allegations.

He was arrested by officers from the Criminal Investigations Department Commercial Crime Division and his docket was being handled by the Anti-Corruption Special Unit department.

Abdul, Mupamhanga and Mutenda, who have been in custody for about four months, were granted $5 000 bail each by Justice Chikowero, while Kanhanga was released on $2 000 bail.

As part of their bail conditions, they were ordered to reside at their given addresses and report to the police every Friday between 6am and 6pm until the matter has been finalised.

When the alleged robbers appeared before the Harare Magistrates’ Courts in August on several charges of armed robbery, they were escorted by more than 10 police officers from the CID Homicide Unit.

They were not asked to plead when they appeared before Mr Richard Ramaboa who remanded them in custody and were advised to apply for bail at the High Court.