A LAWYER representing a canteen manager at Hillside Police Station in Bulawayo charged with theft of goods worth $1 651 has filed an application seeking the recusal of police prosecutors dealing with the matter.
BY SILAS NKALA
In the application, Constable Felix Sangu’s lawyer Blessing Sengweni claimed his client was not likely to get a fair trial as all State witnesses in the matter were police officers.
Sangu (29) is denying the theft charge.
On Tuesday, his lawyer — who was expected to file his client’s defence-in-chief — suddenly changed his plans and filed an application for the court to rule for the recusal of police prosecutor Munyonga Kuvarega and any other police prosecutor from dealing with the case.
He said they were likely to be biased towards colleagues who are witnesses in the matter.
“I am asking this court to recuse the prosecutor and it is my submission that my client does not want any prosecutor who is a member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police to be involved in this matter,” Sengweni told Bulawayo magistrate Tawanda Muchemwa.
“The accused is a police officer and witnesses — one of them senior officer Chief Inspector Justice Rabson the officer-in-charge Hillside Police Station — are police officers.
Sangu claimed some of the evidence had been pulled out of his court records. But Munyonga opposed the application saying the involvement of police prosecutors in the matter would not in any away affect the justice delivery system.
“However, if this court finds it pleasing, may the application of the lawyer be upheld and the matter be remanded to June 29 being taken over by a civilian prosecutor,” Kuvarega said.
The mater was then remanded to June 29 for continuation.
The court heard that sometime between February 2 and 22, Sangu did not report for duty and failed to hand over canteen cash, stock and records to other police officers on duty.
Police later conducted a spot check on canteen financial records and discovered that stock valued at $1 260,76 was entered on the stock sheet, but change valued at $287,88 was not receipted or banked and empties valued at $121,40 were missing.
When Sangu was quizzed over alleged discrepancies by the officer-in-charge, he failed to account for the missing stock and cash, leading to his arrest.