Gold mine cops to have day in court
MIDLANDS Provincial magistrate Mrs Phathekile Msipa has ruled that three senior police officers who are being charged for allegedly operating a gold mine in violation of the Police Act have a case to answer.
Superintendents Temba Mpofu, Tambudzai Muchineuta and Batsirai Mungwa yesterday appeared before a disciplinary hearing presided by Mrs Msipa and applied for discharge at the end of the state case, but the magistrate dismissed their application. The matter was remanded to August 11 for trial.
The three are facing charges of contravening the Police Act for allegedly “without the approval of the Commissioner General of Police, carrying on any business trade, occupation or business either directly or through the agency of any other person.”
Mrs Msipa was brought in to preside over the matter after the police officers asked to be tried by a magistrate from the Judicial Service Commission through their lawyer Mr Tonderai Chitere of Chitere and Chidawanyika and Partners. Sups Mpofu, Muchineuta and Mungwa pleaded not guilty. In her determination on whether or not the senior cops have a case to answer, Mrs Msipa said the court found that they applied for a mining tribute from Consolidated Gold Mines in Kwekwe which was granted.
She said available evidence did establish a prima facie case against them.
“The accused had two (junior) officers who were part of the syndicate who were physically on the ground mining as stated by the witnesses. There is no basis that the accused can be acquitted,” said Mrs Msipa.
In their defence outline, the police officers denied operating a business venture without authority.
“Accused person two, three and four did not conduct any business because even though they entered into a contract for mining they had no capacity. Because they had no equipment and money required they could not seek authority for a business venture they were unable to embark on,” reads part of their defence outline.
Prosecutor Kelvin Guveya said between December last year and February 19 and at Bell 3, Kwekwe, Consolidated Gold Mines, Sups Mpofu, Muchineuta and Mungwa unlawfully engaged in gold mining activities without the approval of the Commissioner General of Police Augustine Chihuri — @pchitumba1