890kg bags smuggled from Harare airport

Prosper Dembedza Court Correspondent
Three police officers and a soldier manning the Harare International Airport allegedly helped four airport officials to smuggle 26 bags weighing 890 kilogrammes with unknown contents through the VIP entrance, the court heard yesterday.

Police officers Simon Chida (34), Gabriel Mutasa (34), a Mhukayesango (31) and Gotora Tinarwo (36) who is a member of Army Headquarters Intelligence, misrepresented to other security officials at the airport that the goods belonged to an unidentified VIP.

The quartet allegedly connived with officials, Onismo Mukau (32), Tichaona Makurumure (38), Thando Ndlovu (30) and Abineri Mangere (43) to commit the crime. Chida, Mutasa, Mhukayesango and Tinarwo face charges of criminal abuse of office while Mukau, Mukurumure, Ndlovu and Mangere, who are airport officials, are facing charges of contravening the Customs and Excise Act and they appeared before Harare magistrate Mrs Rumbidzai Mugwagwa.

They were granted $100 bail each with the State’s consent. As part of their bail conditions, the eight were ordered not to interfere with state witnesses, reside at their given addresses and to report once every Friday at Airport Police Station.

They will be back in court on March 17.

The prosecutor Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa, alleged that on February 13 at around 3am at the Harare International Airport, the eight facilitated the smuggling of 26 bags weighing 890 kilogrammes with unknown contents through the VIP entrance, telling the security personnel manning the gate that the bags belonged to an unnamed VIP, which is contrary or inconsistent with their duties as public officers.

The court heard that the eight were seen on the closed circuit television facilitating the smuggling of the goods through the VIP entrance leading to their arrest.

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