Fungai Lupande Court Reporter
Three bogus police officers who mounted a fake roadblock near State House and tried to extort money from a Patriot newspaper driver after accusing him of driving through a red traffic light were yesterday con- victed.
They will be sentenced today. One of the accused, Martin Ndoorwi (27), was arrested at the crime scene while clad in police uniform. He was jointly charged with Innocent Pamire (32) and Joel Paradzayi (30).
Their alleged accomplice, Khadri Amin (43), is on the run after being granted bail by the High Court. The trio was facing charges of impersonating a police officer, kidnapping, extortion and attempted robbery.
Harare regional magistrate Mr Elijah Makomo acquitted the trio on attempted robbery charges, saying it was clear from the evidence that the group only wanted to extort money.
Pamire and Paradzayi were found guilty on kidnapping and impersonation charges. Ndoorwi was convicted on kidnapping and extortion charges.
He pleaded guilty to impersonating a police officer. “A motorist who testified in court said it was quite a spectacle when he saw Ndoorwi, whom he believed was a police officer, running away from a mob,” said Mr Ma- komo.
“The witness said he pulled out a pistol and he stopped running, leading to his arrest. Ndoorwi implicated the other accused and the State proved a prima facie case against the trio.”
Prosecutor, Ms Rudo Chasi, said on February 24 this year, Patriot newspaper driver Milton Shumba and his wife, Elizabeth Chuma, were driving past State House along Borrowdale Road, when they were blocked by the suspects’ car, forcing them to stop. Ndoorwi, who was clad in police uniform, accused Shumba of driving through a red traffic light.
Ndoorwi then jumped into Shumba’s car and ordered him to drive back to State House. He ordered Chuma to join Pamire, Paradzayi and Amin in the getaway vehicle.
On approaching the State House entrance, Ndoorwi ordered Shumba to drive towards the Harare Botanical Gardens, alleging that they wanted to use the back entrance. Ndoorwi demanded to drive the vehicle, but Shumba refused after suspecting that they were criminals.
Ndoorwi wrestled to grab the steering wheel, before Shumba lost control of the vehicle and hit a pavement. After the accident, Ndoorwi jumped off and took to his heels, before members of the public gave chase and arrested him.
Pamire, Paradzayi and Amin sped off with Shumba’s wife, whom they later dropped in Mt Pleasant.
Ndoorwi later implicated the trio. An anti-riot police jacket, three anti-riot trousers and one webbing belt were recovered at Ndoorwi’s house.
Amin was found in possession of a police identity card in the name of a Constable Zondo, and a pair of handcuffs.