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Top police officer in trouble

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THE officer-in-charge of Tsholotsho police Chief Inspector Muyambirwa Muzzah appeared at the Lupane Magistrates’ Court on accusations of associating with a convicted illegal elephant tusk dealer who was out on bail pending appeal against conviction and sentence.

STAFF REPORTER

Muzzah was also facing accusations of abandoning anti-elephant poaching patrol operations in Hwange National Park before the stipulated period of the operation or leaving guard points without authority.

He was initially charged under the Police Act for allegedly bringing the name of the force into disrepute, but the matter was referred to the Lupane Magistrates’ Court.

Muzzah appeared in court last Tuesday last week facing the two charges which he denied and was remanded to March 14 for continuation of trial.

Allegations against Muzzah are that some time last year, an illegal elephant tusk dealer Busani Moyo was arrested by police and taken to court after being found in possession of the tusks.

Moyo was sentenced to nine years in jail, but was later granted bail pending appeal after he filed an application for bail indicating his intention to oppose conviction and sentence.

Moyo’s bail had conditions attached, among them reporting to the police at stipulated times and days.

After Moyo’s release, it was alleged that Muzzah associated with him when he allegedly borrowed a vehicle from Moyo and drove it to Harare for his personal business despite the fact that Moyo had a pending court case in which his subordinates were the arresting officers.

Muzzah’s provincial commanders got wind of the matter and he was charged with violating the Police Act by associating with a criminal suspect at a time his case was still pending before being referred to the courts of law.

In another charge, it was alleged that Muzzah was deployed with a team of cops to conduct patrols and investigate elephant poaching activities at the Hwange National Park following the mass killing of elephants through the use of cyanide sometime last year.

Muzzah is alleged to have abandoned the operation and gone back to Tsholotsho Police Station before the stipulated date without authority.

In denying the first charge, Muzzah said he was fairly new in Tsholotsho and was not aware that Moyo was out on bail over alleged dealings in elephant tusks and was not even aware that he was reporting to the police station.

In the second charge, Muzzah said they were not given a due date to complete the patrol.

He said when he left the place, he had been told that Moyo had some other poaching crimes and went back to look for him as part of the operation not that he had abandoned the operation.

Muzzah said he was told that Moyo was dealing in elephant tusks during their patrol and he went back to Tsholotsho to make a follow -up on the allegations.

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