Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
FOLLOWING the disappearance of ex-footballer Misheck Mburayi and Munesuishe Mazarire, who were alleged to be part of a syndicate of bogus cops that have been mounting illegal roadblocks using spikes, the court yesterday freed their alleged accomplices from remand after the prosecution indicated that they could not proceed to trial without the pair.
Mburayi and Mazarire are suspected to be on the run after they absconded court and were issued with arrest warrants last week. Their alleged accomplices Carrington Marasha and Farai Mupundumani, who are former cops, appeared before Mr Hoseah Mujaya for trial commencement.
However, the trial failed to take off after prosecutor Mr George Manokore told the court that it was impossible to commence trial without Mburayi and Mazarire.
He indicated that Mburayi was the one who was arrested at the crime scene, hence the trial could not be separated. This prompted Mr Mujaya to remove Marasha and Mupundumani from remand and ordered the State to proceed by a way of summons if Mburayi and Mazarire were arrested.
They are facing charges of attempted armed robbery and impersonating a police officer. It is the State’s case that on June 13, Mburayi, Mazarire, Marasha and Mupundumani, armed with a metal spike and a ZRP deposit fine book (Z69J), proceeded to the intersection of Kwame Nkrumah Avenue and Harare Street.
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 allegedly 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.
The gang, the State alleges, then ordered all passengers to disembark from the commuter omnibus on the pretext that they were impounding the vehicle. 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 he handed over the keys, which he did not do. He switched off the engine instead and disembaked from the kombi, but the suspects still followed him.
Sensing danger, the complainant alerted rank marshals who teamed up and began assaulting the suspected bogus cops, the court heard.
The gang subsequently fled the scene. When Mazarire was arrested, police searched his house and recovered a full set of police uniforms, two batons, handcuffs, 12 copies of blank ZRP Form 234, 10 copies of ZRP Form 11 and six copies of Form 66.
Marasha and Mupundumani were later arrested with the assistance of members of the public.