HARARE CENTRAL FIRE, US$45K IN A STOVE, COPS FACE THEFT CHARGES

Zvikomborero Parafini 

THE officer-in-charge of CID Stores and Business, Stanley Musekiwa, has been charged with theft and malicious damage to property in connection with a fire which broke out at Harare Central Police Station.

Along with accomplices Takaidza Mugwisi and Masimba Stanley Gwasunda, Musekiwa is accused of keeping US$45 000 in a stove oven.

The money had been stolen in Belvedere.

The cash, along with US$5 000 recovered in different cases, was given to Gwasunda by Musekiwa and was placed in a four-plate stove oven.

Gwasunda is the Exhibit Officer. 

Musekiwa and Gwasunda were supposed to place the money in a safe at CID Homicide Harare for safekeeping.

However, on Sunday, the trio allegedly staged a break-in, stole the money, and set the room on fire.

The State has opposed bail for the men, arguing that they are likely to interfere with witnesses.

The State is alleging that Mugwisi recovered US$40 500 from Carlington Gengezha, who had stolen it in Belvedere.

It is the State’s case that Mugwisi was deployed on night guard duties securing CID offices, which include the exhibit room, on Sunday.

At around 1am on Monday, the trio allegedly took advantage of the lack of electricity at the station to stage a break in by cutting the padlocks, using a bolt cutter, and stealing the money.

They are believed to have stolen other exhibits, which are yet to be ascertained, and then set the room on fire.

Prosecutor Pardon Dziva led evidence from CID Homicide officer-in-charge, Lovemore Chifamba, who is the investigating officer in the matter.

“Accused 1 (Musekiwa) is the officer-in-charge at CID Stores and Business in Harare and the witnesses I intend to call are his subordinates.

“Accused 2 and 3 are also well-known colleagues to the witnesses whose statements are yet to be recorded.

“The stolen cash hasn’t been recovered as yet and if they are to be granted bail at this stage, they are likely to dispose of those exhibits,” said Chifamba.

When asked about efforts Mugwisi made to put out the fire, Chifamba said he disappeared after the offence.

“When I located him, he gave me conflicting accounts of his whereabouts.

“He first told me that he was with a friend and then told me that he left and went to NRZ nearby, where he was visiting his brother and then said he was at a lodge with a girlfriend,” he added.

In cross examination, lawyer Admire Rubaya quizzed Chifamba whether he had evidence linking them to the offence.

“Musekiwa will tell the court that he was at his house in Mbare police camp on the day in question and in the absence of contrary evidence, you don’t have a case against him,” said Rubaya.

“Carlington Gengezha is the one who had stolen the money and it was recovered by five police officers meaning that five people were aware that this money was in the exhibit room, including their spouses and their girlfriends.

“It was also reported in newspapers that the money had been recovered so the whole country knew about the money that was at CID stores, hence you can’t say that only these three exclusively knew about the money because more than five million may have known about the money.”

In response, Chifamba said the State has reasonable suspicion against them and they are still to verify the alibis of the trio’s whereabouts on the day in question.

Magistrate Marewanzvo Gofa remanded the matter to today for continuation of the bail application.

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