By A Correspondent- Eight Gweru-based police officers have been arrested for allegedly stealing US$1 000 from a suspect before assaulting him with batons, resulting in him sustaining a fracture on the right leg and a damaged right ear.
Vunganai Chivore (46), Knowledge Musariri (32), Lenias Mukondiwa (35), Edmund Masokwedza (26), Wellington Mada (34), Simplicio Mutema (35), Fendon Mapengo (43) and Elias Chengeta (33)–whose ranks were not mentioned– appeared before Gweru Magistrate Mr Blessing Tsingano. Each of them faced a count of assault and theft.
They pleaded not guilty to the charges and were remanded to July 26 out of custody on free bail.
A medical doctor who treated the complainant, Mr Darlington Jambo, is expected to testify on the next remand date.
The court heard when Mr Jambo wanted to report the police officers for assault and theft, no police officers in Gweru wanted to take up the matter.
It was only after Mr Jambo approached the police headquarters that the officer- in -charge of Senga Police Station was ordered to take the report leading to the officers’ arrest.
The accused officers reside in police quarters at Senga Police Station in Senga and Mtapa police station in Mtapa suburb.
Mr Jambo and the police officers, the court heard, are not related.
On February 18 last year around 8PM, the court heard, the ZRP Gweru District Reaction Group comprising the accused was deployed to Mtapa policing area where they were doing a motorised patrol using a police vehicle that was being driven by Constable Mafirowanda.
At around 9PM during their tour of duty and while patrolling along Matobo Road, the accused persons saw a Toyota Fun cargo vehicle which was approaching them from the opposite direction swerving from one side to the other.
The court heard that Const Mafirowanda allegedly flashed his lights signaling Mr Jambo to stop.
Mr Jambo, the court heard, allegedly reduced speed and later fled.
After the complainant fled, the police vehicle made a U-turn and chased him.
The court heard that Chivore, Musariri, Mukondiwa, Masokwedza, Mada, Mutema, Mapengo and Chengeta caught up with the complainant after about 200 metres when his vehicle got stuck in a muddy ditch and his two tyres were punctured.
When the police officers arrived at the scene, they allegedly handcuffed Mr Jambo, assaulted him with batons while slapping him as two female officers watched.
The court heard Mr Jambo was put in a police car before the driver drove towards Mtapa police station.
As they drove to the police station, the court heard that Mr Jambo told the police officers that he had left US$ 1 000 and his cell phone in the car which was not locked. Const Mafirowanda, the court heard, made a U-turn and went back to Mr Jambo’s car.
The court heard that he searched for his cash and cell phone and did not find them.
The police officers allegedly continued to assault Mr Jambo using baton sticks and open hands resulting in him sustaining a fracture on the right leg and a damaged right ear.
Mr Jambo, the court heard, was allegedly taken to Mtapa Police station where he was placed in open cells. He later tried to make a complaint against the police but without any success.
Mr Jambo allegedly approached the police superiors at the headquarters in Harare before officer in charge Senga was assigned to take the matter leading to the arrest of Chivore, Musariri, Mukondiwa, Masokwedza, Mada, Mutema, Mapengo and Chengeta.