FOUR police officers who were accused of extorting $200 from a commuter omnibus driver they allegedly arrested for smuggling goods into the country have been acquitted of the charge.
BY SILAS NKALA
Assistant Inspector Lloyd Mazura (38) and sergeants Edmund Magama (36), Manatsa Gwamuri (39), and Justine Mavesere (34), all stationed at the Border Control and Minerals Unit in Bulawayo — had denied the extortion charges when they appeared before Bulawayo senior magistrate Gladmore Mushove.
The quartet was acquitted for lack of evidence.
In their defence, they said when they arrested the complainant for smuggling, he tried to bribe them and they refused. They said they ordered him to drive to Zimra for verification of goods.
“Looking at loopholes in the State case, the State has failed to prove a prima facie case against the accused, it would be unfair for them to be placed in their defence. The application for discharge is granted and all the accused are found not guilty and discharged,” ruled Mushove.
The court heard that the four were arrested on September 24, 2015 when the officers pursued Lovemore Mudumo, a transport operator plying the Bulawayo-Beitbridge route, as he was at Emakhandeni delivering his clients’ goods brought from Beitbridge.
The State had alleged that the police officers ordered Mudumo to pay $200 to them and another $50 to a Zimra security guard for the kombi’s release, but he only paid $30 and was told to bring the balance later.
Mudumo drove out of Zimra premises and went to report the matter to the police.
Mazura allegedly heard that Mudumo had reported the matter, and went to Ndlovu with his workmate Pasi Mukwashi asking her to call Mudumo to collect his money.
They allegedly left the money with Ndlovu and Mudumo collected it in the presence of police detective inspectors, only identified as Maphosa and Nyathi.
The four officers were later arrested.