By A Correspondent| In Bulawayo, a police officer has been ordered to fork out US$10 000 in damages to compensate a man, who was unlawfully arrested and arbitrarily detained by law enforcement agents over a bilateral contractual dispute.
Joseph Tambu, the Director of Prod Software Enterprises, was arrested by Shingirai Givemore Mayimbo, Zimbabwe Republic Police officer, on 15 June 2021 after he voluntarily appeared at Bulawayo Central Police Station, where he had been summoned to appear in order to answer questions in relation to the delivery of a camera.
Tambu had been summoned to answer to questions related to the terms of a contract of sale concluded by him in his capacity as a Director of Prod Software Enterprises and Gwanda State University, represented by Sifundo Ntini, the university’s Procurement Officer.
After presenting himself at Bulawayo Central Police Station, Tambu was quizzed on the delivery of the camera, where he provided a detailed explanation on the reason for the delay of the supply of the camera, which Mayimbo did not accept and proceeded to detain him without just cause or explanation of his rights and stated that he would only be released after the camera was delivered to Gwanda State University.
On 17 June 2021, Tambu was released from the police custody after spending two nights in detention without receiving any further criminal sanction and did not appear in any court answering to criminal charges as should have been the case.
After his release and ordeal, Tambu engaged Prisca Dube of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who filed summons at Bulawayo Magistrates Court, seeking payment of damages amounting to US$10 000 as compensation for violation of his fundamental rights.
In the summons, Dube argued that Tambu was deprived of his liberty and inconvenienced as he could not conduct his business activities and was subjected to emotional strain as he was in confinement & could not see his family while his reputation as an entrepreneur was tainted.
In a ruling handed down recently by Bulawayo Magistrate only identified as Ncube, Mayimbo, together with the Officer In Charge of Bulawayo Central Police Station, Godwin Matanga, the Commissioner-General of ZRP and Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe, were ordered to pay US$10 000 to Tambu as damages for wrongful arrest, unlawful detention and pain and suffering.
Magistrate Ncube ruled that Tambu was deprived of his liberty during a dangerous period of the outbreak of coronavirus and his health was put in danger owing to Mayimbo’s actions.