AN employee with the Department of Agricultural Extension Services in Bulawayo was on Monday taken to court after he allegedly masqueraded as a police officer from the Bulawayo Central Licence Inspectorate department and demanded money from a restaurant, he accused of selling smuggled potatoes.
REPORT BY STAFF REPORTER
Wages Chimhanda (39) of Nkulumane was not asked to plead to a charge of impersonating a policeman when he appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Sibongile Msipa who remanded him out of custody to July 2 for trial.
Prosecutor Masimba Saruaka told the court that on June 14, Chimhanda visited Chef Jiffy at corner Forty Street and 11th Avenue in the city at 4.20pm.
He identified himself to the shop manager Nobangcwele Ndlovu (46) as a police inspector from the Bulawayo Licence Inspectorate.
Chimhanda said he wanted to seize all the potatoes that were used to make food stuffs by the shop, since he discovered that the potatoes were smuggled from outside the country.
Ndlovu called her managing director David Mlambo who was not in office to inform him about the issues.
Mlambo asked to talk to Chimhanda over the phone. Chimhanda again identified himself as an inspector. The two discussed how they could meet, as Mlambo said he was at the United Bulawayo Hospital and would be in town at 7pm.
They agreed that they would call each other and Chimhanda told him that he will wait for him up to 8pm.
Mlambo arrived in town at 7.45pm and advised Chimhanda, who invited him to the Palace Hotel along Jason Moyo Street where he claimed to be having a meeting.
Chimhanda then advised Mlambo to get into the hotel and give money to the second person from his left.
Mlambo became suspicious and refused to enter. Chimhanda then asked him the description of his car so that he could come out of the hotel to meet him.
The accused again allegedly identified himself as the inspector before he asked for an undisclosed amount of money.
Mlambo asked to see his police identity card, but Chimhanda failed to produce it before Mlambo tried to effect a citizen arrest.
Chimhanda ran into the hotel and escaped through the back door.
Mlambo drove his car behind the hotel where he saw him running and shouted to members of the public to catch him. Chimhanda was apprehended before he was handed over to the police.