Judge nullifies suspension of two junior cops in bribes case

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BULAWAYO High Court judge, Justice Martin Makonese has nullified the suspension of two junior police officers, who were relieved of their duties three years ago for alleged misconduct.

BY SILAS NKALA

The Zimbabwe Republic Police had suspended Constables Rumbidzayi Singende and Tendai Mudiwi, both based at Minerals and Border Control Unit in Gweru, for allegedly receiving bribes from suspected criminals.

Makonese last week ruled that the ZRP had rushed to suspend the police officers without evidence of commission of the crime. “It is ordered that the suspensions against the applicants be and are, hereby, declared unlawful and wrongful. The respondents are ordered to release and serve the applicants with a radio signal for the cancellation of the purported suspensions within 72 hours from the date of this order. The respondents to pay costs of suit on attorney- client scale,” he ruled.

In their application, the two officers had cited the officer commanding district Minerals and Border Control Unit, officer commanding midlands province Minerals and Border Control Unit and Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, as respondents.

In his founding affidavit, Singende submitted that sometime in September 2015, he and Mudiwi were charged for contravening paragraph 27 of the schedule to the Police Act and also charged in terms of the ordinary law for contravening section 170 (1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 on the same allegations in which they allegedly collected a bribe from suspects they had arrested for crimes not stated in the court papers.

“Pursuant to the allegations in particular, the criminal allegations the second applicant and I were suspended in terms of the Police Act from active police duties pending finalisation of the criminal charges on September 30 2015,” read the founding affidavit.

“The suspensions were not signed or authenticated within 24 hours as required in terms of the standing orders volume 1 by the Commissioner General of Police. What it clearly means is that the suspensions were unlawful from the onset. The second applicant (Mudiwi) and I were kept on the illegal suspension. However the State declined to prosecute the criminal allegations for lack of evidence sometime in July 2017. “

Singende added that their suspensions were further extended by word of mouth after they refused to sign new suspension letters.