Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
Former Highlanders Football Club player Misheck Mburayi is part of a syndicate of bogus cops that have been mounting illegal roadblocks using spikes to collect cash from unsuspecting motorists in the city, the court heard yesterday.
Mburayi (27) appeared in court jointly charged with former cop, Munesushe Mazarire (27). They are facing charges of attempted robbery and impersonating a police officer.
Upon their arrest, Mazarire was found in possession of police uniforms, batons, handcuffs and police fine receipt books. According to the State, Mazarire has a similar case which is pending before the courts. It is alleged that upon their arrest, the pair told the police that they committed the offences in connivance with other former police officers identified as Munyaradzi Tivaringe, Carrington Marasha and Farai Mupundumani who were discharged from the force for indiscipline and dishonesty.
Tivaringe, Marasha and Mupundumani were still at large. Another suspected criminal, Nevil Munangati (28) also appeared before the same magistrate facing a charge of possessing articles for criminal use.
He was found with several police uniforms. The trio appeared before magistrate Ms Barbra Chimboza, who remanded them in custody to today for bail application.
Prosecuting Miss Salome Tsvakwi with the assistance of Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa, alleged that on June 13, Mburayi, Mazarire, Tivaringe, Marasha and Mupundumani, armed with a metal spike and ZRP deposit fines book (Z69J) proceeded to the intersection of Kwame Nkrumah and Harare Street, which according to the police, is not a designated rank for commuter omnibuses.
They allegedly masqueraded as traffic police officers in plain clothes and approached the driver of a Nissan Caravan who was picking up passengers. One of the accused persons reportedly placed the spike in front of the kombi’s right wheel before informing the driver that he was under arrest for picking up passengers at an undesignated point. It is the State’s case that the gang ordered all passengers to disembark from the commuter omnibus before informing the driver that his vehicle had been impounded.
They got into the kombi and ordered the complainant to drive to Harare Central police station. The complainant, the court heard, became suspicious and refused to comply with their orders.
He ordered the “bogus cops” to produce their identity cards, but they failed to do so. One of the suspects grabbed him and demanded the keys of the kombi. The State alleged that the driver managed to switch off the engine and disembarked with the gang following him.
Sensing danger, the complainant then alerted other rank marshals who teamed up and began assaulting the suspected bogus cops, the court heard. Mburayi and his team fled the scene in different directions, but Mburayi was apprehended by the mob before he was surrendered to the police.
His alleged accomplices managed to escape with the spike. It is further alleged that Mburayi implicated Mazarire who was then arrested at his house. The police searched Mazarire’s house and recovered a full set of police uniform, two batons, handcuffs, 12 copies of blank ZRP form 234, 10 copies of ZRP form 11 and six copies of form 66.
Through investigations, police proceeded to Munangati’s house where they recovered several police uniforms.