High Court clears top cop
Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Reporter
Top police officer Assistant Commissioner Gideon Baloyi, who was last year jailed nine months for corruptly facilitating the release of a fraud suspect, was yesterday cleared of any wrong-doing by the High Court. Justice Francis Bere, sitting with Justice Charles Hungwe, yesterday found Asst Comm Baloyi not guilty of the charges of putting the police force into disrepute through corruptly instructing a junior officer to release a fraud suspect.
The decision was made after a strong appeal by Asst Comm Baloyi’s lawyer Mr Misheck Hogwe of Hogwe Dzimirai and Partners.
Quashing the conviction and sentence imposed on Asst Comm Baloyi — Justice Bere said there was no credible evidence confirming that the senior officer interfered with the case.
It was the court’s finding that desperate efforts by the investigating officer, Detective Assistant Inspector Mubhawu and Chief Inspector Allison Nyamupaguma, to nail Asst Comm Baloyi were not helpful in proving his guilt.
The court ruled that Asst Insp Mubhawu confirmed to the court that he had taken instructions to free the suspect from the then officer-in-charge at CID Serious Fraud Inspector Masara and not Asst Comm Baloyi.
The same position, the court said, was also buttressed by Insp Masara’s testimony that exonerated Asst Comm Baloyi.
Insp Masara gave evidence saying he had used his discretion to release the suspect considering that the proper suspect was the company that he represented and not an individual.
Justice Bere said even if Asst Comm Baloyi had communicated to the investigating officer that he had to “fairly deal with the fraud case” as alleged, that did not amount to a contravention of the preferred law.
“The investigating officer was supposed to use his own discretion and if he felt there was any interference, he had many avenues to take.
“If we have such type of police officers, then they do not deserve to be police officers.
“It is unfair for one to sleep on duty and later seek to blame a senior officer,” ruled the judge.
Asst Comm Baloyi — who was a staff officer at the Police General Headquarters in Harare — was jailed by magistrate Mr Elijah Makomo for trying to protect Nevermind Kufakunesu, who was being accused of swindling a local businessman Mr Batsirayi Mupindu of chickens worth US$21 000.
Kufakunesu disappeared when he was released and detectives from Criminal Investigations Department Fraud Squad in Harare had challenges locating him.