By Tendai Rupapa
Police knew that the attempted petrol-bombing of the First Family’s Alpha Omega Dairy Farm was a military-sanctioned operation and that the accused soldiers had been planted, one of the suspects told the court yesterday.
Borman Ngwenya said when they were being interrogated at the police station, his superiors from the Zimbabwe National Army were in the interrogation room and when he told the police that it was a military-sanctioned operation, they did not dispute it.
He said Major Mashava and Sergeant Mahachi even confirmed the same to the police, adding that he was surprised as to why the army was now disowning him.
Ngwenya further said that Assistant Commissioner Thulani Ncube, who was part of the interrogation team, even confirmed to him that he knew he had been sent by the army to carry out the operation.
“He said even though I had been sent by the army, I had committed an offence. Asst Comm Ncube said to me ‘kana baba vako vakarima mbanje vobva vakutuma kunoikohwa, wosangana nemapurisa wakaitakura, ndiani anosungwa?’”
When asked by his lawyer Mr Exactly Mangezi what Asst Comm Ncube meant by that, Ngwenya said, Asst Comm Ncube in short was confirming that he knew that he had been planted by the army, but still he was going to arrest him.
However, during cross-examination, prosecutor Mr Michael Reza accused Ngwenya of lying against Asst Comm Ncube.
“From the statement you attributed to Asst Comm Ncube, it is clear that Asst Comm meant that he did not know about the operation, but only knew that you and your colleagues had committed an offence. You cannot say that he knew you were planted when he has never told you that ,” he said.
Ngwenya maintained that the police knew what was happening.
He further said that on the day they were arrested, they were tipped by Major Mashava on how they were going to be ambushed and arrested.
Ngwenya said he was confused as to why the army disowned him when they are confirming that his alleged accomplices Silas Pfupa and Solomon Makumbe were their people.
He said Makumbe and Pfupa’s legal fees were being paid by the army.
“After police indications, the officers informed me that the military disowned me, but surprisingly they did not disown me when I was explaining my role to the police during interrogations. Sgt Mahachi even brought lunch for the three of us at the police station,” he said.
Magistrate Ms Fadzai Mthombeni, deferred the matter to Monday next week for continuation of trial.
It is alleged that on January 22, around 4pm, police received a tip-off that the four were planning to bomb Alpha Omega Dairy’s processing plant and a tuckshop during the night.
Acting on the tip-off, police proceeded to the farm and laid an ambush about 100 metres from the quartet’s target. At around 10pm, the detectives saw the men approaching the dairy’s processing plant and immediately arrested them.
Ngwenya, Pfupa and Makumbe are facing a charge of possessing weaponry for sabotage.
Owen Kuchata did not go through trial as he pleaded guilty to the charges and was jailed for an effective nine years. The quartet is facing an additional charge of treason. The Herald