By Cynthia Dube
Six police officers, among them four in charge of training at Ntabazinduna Training Depot, who allegedly stole more than $200 000 in projects funds, were yesterday removed from remand.
Bulawayo Magistrate Mr Tinashe Tashaya removed the accused persons from remand to allow the State to put its house in order.
The State will proceed by way of summons in its case against Chief Superintendent Rosum Shonhiwa (42) who is responsible for training, Inspector Sibonginkosi Dube (38), the officer-in-charge of the Mess as well as Superintendent Farai Chikonamombe (43), Assistant Inspector Oswald Mushonga (33), Constables Kelvin Moyo and Tafadzwa Sibanda.
“The State promised to be done with its investigations on or before February 28, 2017 but it failed.
“Accused persons were further remanded but the State hasn’t delivered. Removing the police officers from remand will allow the State to do their investigations freely without being put under pressure from defence lawyers,” said Mr Tashaya.
“The State will suffer no prejudice if accused persons are placed off remand. If there is any prejudice suffered by the State, it would be less than that suffered by the accused persons who are paying their lawyers every day to appear in court. Remember lawyers charge hourly and not monthly.”
The magistrate said the State would provide the cops with a trial date when they are done with investigations.
He said the State has the power to summon the cops at any time it deems necessary.
“The State can summon the accused persons the moment they walk out of this door. Placing the accused persons off remand does not mean that they have been acquitted, it is just a procedure that helps the court not to continue trampling on their right to liberty,”said Mr Tashaya.
Prosecuting, Mr Nkathazo Dlodlo said between September 21 and December 31 last year, Shonhiwa, Mushonga and Fidelis Chivavava connived and signed internal funds transfer slips authorising Standard Chartered Bank to transfer $14 785 from Ntabazinduna Training Depot’s Mess account into Dube, Moyo and Sibanda’s accounts.
Chivavava, who is already on remand for the same charge, was the acting finance clerk at ZRP Ntabazinduna Training Depot responsible for withdrawing, holding in trust the withdrawn funds and making payments to suppliers.
Mr Dlodlo said between 2015 and 2016, the cops also allegedly connived to defraud the police while claiming that they were paying suppliers different amounts of money.
Between January 18 and 19 this year, an internal audit was carried out at ZRP Ntabazinduna Training Depot and it was discovered that a total of $206 048,47 was missing from the coffers.
When the accused persons were engaged over the issue they allegedly failed to account for the money.
A report was made to police at Mbembesi Police Station on February 10 leading to the arrest of the accused persons. The Chronicle