Senior Court Reporter
A former officer-in-charge at ZRP Chitungwiza New Camp, Charles Mutabvuka, and a sergeant major at the same station, Smackmail Chikowore, were yesterday cleared of charges of demanding US$110 as bribe from three subordinates they were investigating on accusations of demanding a bribe from suspects.
Mutabvuka and Chikowore, who were represented by lawyer Mr Oliver Marwa, were acquitted of criminal abuse of office charges when they appeared before Harare regional magistrate Mrs Vongai Guwuriro.
They were acquitted after a full trial.
In acquitting the duo, Mrs Guwuriro noted there were so many inconsistencies in State witnesses’ testimonies.
The court said the witnesses failed to pinpoint where the alleged bribery was recovered and how much money was demanded by the two.
Mrs Guwuriro said the failure by the witnesses to be clear on those issues raised a lot of doubt on whether the offence was committed or not, and it was difficult for the court to convict Mutabvuka and Chikowore under those circumstances.
They were alleged to have asked for a bribe from police officers, Nyasha Mupandira, Obey Muchesa and Learnmore Maburuse, who were investigated for asking for a bribe from suspects.
It was alleged that sometime in February 2020, Mutabvuka and Chikowore were investigating a case of criminal abuse of duty against Mupandire, Muchesa and Maburuse and a docket was opened at ZRP Chitungwiza against them.
During investigations, the duo was alleged to have demanded US$110 for them to cover up the allegations.
Mupandire, Muchesa and Maburuse then allegedly went on to lodge a report to PGHQ Internal Investigations and a trap was arranged.
On 28 February 2020, a team of police officers from PGHQ Internal Investigations headed by Chief Inspector Innocent Marimbita arrested the duo at Chitungwiza Police Station after they had allegedly received the trap money.