HARARE | A top police detective and the chief public prosecutor have been arrested on bribery charges after allegedly accepting gifts of residential stands in order to drop charges against Harare City Council officials implicated in a US$1 million residential stands scandal.
Assistant Commissioner Obeylaw Moyo, the deputy director of CID Commercial Crimes and Chief Law Officer in Charge of Prosecution in Harare Province Clement Chimbare, both 47, are jointly charged with junior police officers Claudious Majonga, 37 and Aaron Karuru, 32.
Prosecutor Charles Muchemwa told a court on Thursday that a fifth man, a police officer, is on the run.
The quartet appeared before Harare magistrate Nguni Nduna facing criminal abuse of office charges.
They were released on $3,000 bail each and will be back in court on August 17, 2020.
The City of Harare represented by its chief security officer, Collen Tongowona, is the complainant in the case.
According to the state, sometime in September last year, the local authority through Town Clerk Hosiah Chisango reported a case of fraud in which Edgar Dzehonye, Mathew Marara, Rudo Chingocha, Believer Mpawaenda and Margeth George were accused of carving up and selling 150 stands in Kuwadzana 3, 4 and 5 to home-seekers without the knowledge or approval of the local authority.
The case was filed and investigated by the two junior officers, Karuru and Majonga under the supervision of their boss Moyo and other top officers, Naboth Nyachega and Joseph Mutipforo.
The investigations led to the arrest of Tapiwa Gina, Rudo Chingocha, Believer Mpawaenda and Margeth George who were taken to court.
Chimbare vetted their court papers at the Harare Magistrates Court.
On February 4 this year, the four officers arrested Marara who was also dragged to court.
Chimbare again allegedly handled Marara’s docket. It is alleged he then released him and said he would proceed by way of summons since there many other people involved in the alleged scam. This was despite the fact that four of Marara’s alleged accomplices were already on remand on $1,000 bail each.
Moyo, Majonga, Karuru and a fourth police officer allegedly received residential stands in Westlea Township from Marara and Dzehonye as inducement to make the charges go away.
The court heard the stands worth $219,938 were allocated on the same date and at the same place, which rules out the possibility of a coincidence.
The allocation letters dated March 19, 2020, were signed by Dzehonye who after being summoned to the CID Commercial Crimes on criminal charges was only made to sign a warned and cautioned statement before he was released without going to court.
The court was told the letters were also signed by Admire Nhekairo.
In an attempt to cover the alleged offence, Dzehonye, Marara and Nhekairo corruptly manipulated council systems and policies to accommodate the four who had been unlawfully and corruptly allocated stands, it is alleged.
The court also heard that Marara corruptly terminated the contract of Negion Moyo, the Head of Public Safety and also a key witness who was representing City of Harare in Kuwadzana.
On June 30, upon learning that they were being investigated, Moyo, Majonga and Karuru allegedly rushed to arrest Dzehonye and Marara who were then taken to court.
It is alleged Chimbare showed favour by releasing Dzehonye and Marar. He is also accused of corruptly accepting the housing stand.
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