Police defy High Court

Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri

POLICE in Bulawayo have continued to defy judge Justice Maphios Cheda’s order to incarcerate one of their commanders, or comply with a directive to pay a former detective, Bazil Nyapokoto,
$64 000 damages for victimisation after testifying against other detectives in an inquest.

Richard Muponde

On March 6, Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri conceded that the force would pay $64 000 in damages to the detective seeking incarceration of his former commander Superintendent Pilate Moyo for contempt of court.

The police had agreed to pay the amount within two months after Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese dismissed Chihuri’s urgent chamber application in which the police boss was seeking to shield his lieutenant from a jail term for defying Cheda’s court order.

However, they recently made a U-turn and instead filed an application for rescission of judgment.

Nyapokoto’s lawyer Tanaka Muganyi yesterday confirmed the new development.

“They didn’t pay the damages as agreed. Instead, they made an application for rescission of judgment while they are in contempt of court,” he said.

The status quo reportedly leaves  Moyo at risk of being incarcerated. Cheda had ordered Moyo’s arrest and incarceration for blocking the Deputy Sheriff from attaching his property.

Moyo had been sued by Nyapokoto for work-related victimisation.

Makonese also upheld Cheda’s order for Moyo to be incarcerated.
However, police reportedly backtracked on their pledge to compensate Nyapokoto.

Nyapokoto had been kicked out from his official residence at Ross Camp after he testified against his workmates in an inquest on two armed robbery suspects.

Chihuri got involved when he filed an urgent chamber application seeking a stay of execution of the order.

He argued that Nyapokoto should not have sued Moyo in his official capacity.

Chihuri’s deputy, Innocent Matibiri, had also said in his founding affidavit that they were seeking rescission of the order, although they were barred to tender their plea, as they had approached the court late due to administrative issues.

However, there was drama on March 6 outside Bulawayo High Court after Moyo was briefly arrested by the Deputy Sheriff when his case was being argued in the judge’s chambers.

Moyo heaved a sigh of relief 20 minutes later after Muganyi intervened and ordered his release as he was being whisked to prison.