Former top cop guilty of murder
A FORMER top police detective who shot a mine worker in a fight over the ownership of a mine in Fort Rixon has been convicted of murder with actual intent.
Refias Masuna (48) of Mahatshula North suburb, who was employed as an operations manager by Manifest Security Company at the time the crime was committed, was yesterday convicted by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Francis Bere. He was remanded to August 10 for sentence.
Masuna killed Ernest Mudenda, 31, at Zulu 8 Mine Pioneer in Fort Rixon on December 12 in 2014.
Justice Bere said although the state relied on circumstantial evidence, Masuna was the only one who fired the fatal shot since he was the only person close to the scene at the time of the shooting.
“Accused immediately left for Bulawayo after discharging the firearm. From the evidence led during trial, it is clear that accused was on that particular night in no nonsense mood, which could have informed his actions,” said the judge.
Justice Bere said evidence led by Masuna’s subordinate, Cleverness Ngwenya, was credible.
Masuna is a former officer-in-charge of the Criminal Investigations Department in Beitbridge who was fired following his conviction on extortion charges in 2007. He was jailed for 30 months for demanding a R10 000 bribe from a Congolese national he had arrested on fraud charges.
Masuna’s security company was hired by Blessing Ndiweni who had just received an eviction order to vacate the mine. Ndiweni was locked in a wrangle with Wilson Nyamhiwa over the ownership of the mine.
Prosecuting, Sifiso Ndlovu-Sibanda said on December 9, 2014, the High Court granted an order in favour of Nyamhiwa and two days later the Deputy Sheriff moved to the mine to evict Ndiweni’s workers. When Ndiweni heard of the eviction order, he rushed to Manifest Security Company and requested five security guards to be deployed to Zulu Mine. “Masuna joined his subordinates and they went to Zulu 8 Mine in Fort Rixon where his guards were deployed. On arrival at around midnight, he discovered that there was a dispute over the ownership of the mine,” said Ndlovu-Sibanda. His client’s workers had been evicted from the mine and the new miner’s employees had taken over the premises. However, Ndiweni’s equipment was still being guarded by Masuna’s men. The court heard that Masuna allegedly took a Norinco pistol from one of his guards and went towards the new occupants with his guards. “When the new tenants inquired who was approaching on hearing footsteps, Masuna identified himself as Ndiweni and indicated that he would shoot one of them,” said Ndlovu-Sibanda. The new occupants fled in different directions, but Masuna fired a shot that hit Mudenda in the upper part of his chest and the bullet exited through the upper left hand arm. Mudenda’s body was discovered the next morning at around 6AM. A postmortem report indicated that the cause of death was gunshot, homicide and loss of blood. A report was made to the police leading to Masuna’s arrest. The pistol was recovered from a guard as Masuna had returned it after shooting Mudenda. In his defence through his lawyers, Thondhlanga and Associates, Masuna said he only fired a warning shot in the air to deter Nyamhiwa’s workers who were causing havoc at the mine. He also accused Ngwenya of firing at the violent mine workers. — @ mashnets
Refifi as Masuna