Cop nailed in $2 million diamond theft
A POLICE detective and his Nigerian accomplice who duped a licenced diamond dealer of precious gems worth over US$2million have been slapped with a four year jail-term.
Goodhope Mavhengeri (42), a Bulawayo-based criminal investigations department officer and Tinayi Mudavanhu (32) from Mutare’s Chikanga high-density suburb learnt the hard way that crime does not pay when Mutare provincial magistrate, Mr Tendai Mahwe sentenced them to four years imprisonment each.
They were sentenced last Friday.
The pair was convicted of fraud, theft and contravening the Precious Stones Act - charges they had been facing since June 2008.
Mavhengeri and Mudavanhu had been denying the charges but they were convicted after a full trial.
The State led by public prosecutor, Mr Cuthbert Bhosha, provided overwhelming evidence which warranted a conviction. The diamonds weighed 275 carats.
“Mudavanhu was approached by the complainant, Magaret Nyandura, who was looking for diamond buyers. Mudavanhu approached Crimeson Dzapasi, an investigating officer with the ZRP who then introduced him to a Nigerian national who purported to be the diamond buyer.
“Mudavanhu, Dzapasi, and the unidentified Nigerian buyer together with their accomplices who are still on the run went to Nyandura’s residence sometime between May and June 2008 with an intention to buy the said diamonds,” said Mr Bhosha.
The court heard that Mavhengeri purported to be the Nigerian buyer and while at Nyandura’s place of residence, two men arrived and told Mudavanhu and the two other accomplices that they were under arrest for dealing in precious stones.
“This arrest was a ploy for the suspects to get hold of the diamonds. The police officers then took
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Mudavanhu and his accomplices indicating that they were going to the police station leaving Nyandura behind.
“Mudavanhu later came back with 36 pieces of diamonds which Nyandura refused to take arguing that she wanted all her 275 carats that she had given him,” said Mr Bhosha.
In her testimony, Nyandura who is a holder of a valid diamond deal- er’s license told the court that she approached Mudavanhu and asked him to look for diamond buyers for her since he was well-versed with diamond buyers in the city.
She also said she promised to give him a token of appreciation if he brings the buyer.
Nyandura further indicated that the deal was botched because of two men who arrived and indicated that she and the others were under arrest, but surprisingly left her at her home and took the diamonds with them.
Mr Mahwe sentenced the duo to 4 years imprisonment.
He however, suspended one year on condition of good behaviour for the next five years. They will each serve an effective three years imprisonment.
They were being charged with contravening Sections 136, 113 (1) and 3(1) of Precious Stones Trade Act Chapter 21:06.