3 cops fired for smuggling sue Chihuri

THREE former officers from Fairbridge Police Station in Bulawayo, fired in October 2009 for allegedly smuggling potatoes and 600 sachets of cane spirits, while deployed at the Zimbabwe-Zambia Border Post, have sued Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri for unfair dismissal.

BY SILAS NKALA

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This was after a Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Maxwell Takuva in June 2015 ordered their reinstatement without loss of benefits and pay, but the police force defied the order.

Sergeant Kenneth Tsiwo, Constable Trouble Chikwati and Constable Last Mabvuregudo, through their lawyer, Samp Mlaudzi claimed their labour rights were violated.

In his founding affidavit filed at the Bulawayo High Court on April 29, Tsiwo said they were arrested on June 23, 2009 for alleged smuggling.

“The goods were potatoes and 600 sachets of cane spirits. It was later established that the sachets belonged to Edith Mkombwe of Zambia and potatoes belonged to one Inspector Mzenda, our senior, who had sent us to collect them at the border post,” he said.

Tsiwo said they initially appeared before a magistrate and on June 25 they appeared before a single officer and were convicted, even after Mkombwe claimed ownership of the spirits.

“On October 14, we were served with a discharge notification with effect from October 8, 2009 from the Commissioner-General. We lodged an appeal against the decision with Police Service Commission,” he said, adding the appeal was dismissed.

Tsiwo said on January 31, 2012 they applied for review of the disciplinary proceedings and the court on June 12, 2015 ruled in their favour, but the authorities refused to reinstate them.

He submitted that they later made an application for condonation of late filing of application for review, which was granted on April 14, 2016 by Justice Nicholas Mathonsi.

But Chihuri in his affidavit said: “Applicants were intercepted by Zimbabwe Revenue Authority officials and found in possession of undeclared goods, hence, during the police disciplinary trial they were found guilty.”

He said their acquittal in the criminal proceedings does not mean the disciplinary proceedings’ verdict should be the same.

“Disciplinary proceedings look at the conduct of the police officer,” Chihuri submitted then.

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