Kwekwe gold cops cleared
THREE senior police officers who were being charged for allegedly operating a gold mine in Kwekwe in violation of the Police Act have been acquitted.
Superintendents Temba Mpofu, Tambudzai Muchineuta and Batsirai Mungwa were cleared after appearing before a disciplinary hearing presided over by Midlands Provincial magistrate Mrs Phathekile Msipa.
The magistrate said prosecutors had failed to prove their case and the three police officers had convinced the hearing that they abandoned the venture at Bell 3 Consolidated Gold Mines after realising that it would be expensive for them.
The trio stood accused of 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.”
Sups Mpofu, Muchineuta and Mungwa pleaded not guilty.
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.
In her verdict, Mrs Msipa said prosecutors had failed to prove that the trio were operating a gold mine without seeking the Commissioner General of Police’s consent.
“There were two issues to be decided here, one whether or not the accused persons had conducted business without the approval of the CGP and what business had been conducted by the accused persons. The witnesses said they didn’t know the accused persons,” she said.
“The prosecution failed to prove that the junior officers Assistant Inspector Manyudza Mandowe and Constable Raison Mutubuki were indeed agents of the accused persons.”
Mrs Msipa said the accused persons did not dispute that they made an application for a gold mine and even went to make feasibility studies for the business.
She said the cops told the court that they abandoned the venture after learning that it would be an expensive exercise for them.
“The accused said they even engaged other people to assist them in mining. But after realising it was not possible they abandoned the project and therefore didn’t seek authority from CGP.
“The prosecution should have called a senior police officer to challenge the version given by the accused. That aspect remained outstanding and the case was left limping,” Mrs Msipa said. — @pchitumba1
Dr Joice Mujuru