Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Cop disowns statement

By Nyore Madzianike

A Mbare traffic police officer yesterday disowned a warned and cautioned statement recorded during investigations in a matter in which Chief Inspector Violet Sigauke is accused of demanding bribes from kombi operators.

Violet Sigauke
Violet Sigauke being led away to court

Lot Muzamhindo told the court during Chief Inspector Sigauke’s on-going trial that he was only called to the Police General Headquarters and told to append his signature on an already prepared warned and cautioned statement.

“I wish to tell the court that I did not voluntarily give a statement to the police but I was called to the PGHQ where there were 10 police officers who told me to put a signature on an already prepared statement,” he said.

His statement forced the State, led by Francesca Mukumbiri, to make an application urging the court to declare Muzamhindo a hostile witness.

Prosecutor Mukumbiri, in her application, told the court that Muzamhindo had been interfered with before he went to testify in court.

“The State applies that the witness be declared a hostile witness. This is because the witness has been interfered with and the State had documentary evidence to show that the witness had been interfered with to distance himself from the statement,” said prosecutor Mukumbiri.

Lawyer Admire Rubaya, who is representing Chief Inspector Sigauke, opposed to the application saying the witness had already told the court that he had not voluntarily given the statement.

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Magistrate Lazini Ncube ruled that Muzamhindo could not be declared a hostile witness.

The court also said that Muzamhindo can be regarded as an accomplice witness and his evidence should be treated with caution.

Muzamhindo, in the said warned and cautioned statement had given an account of what he witnessed during the arrest of the Mbare police traffic officer-in-charge.

“On the 8th of February 2017 I proceeded to the traffic charge office at around 1630 hours to prepare my dockets for a visit scheduled for the 9th of February 2017.

“When I finished my dockets, I then proceeded to the Officer-in-charge’s office intending to inform her (Chief Inspector Sigauke) that one of my details Constable Chidhakwa had received a death message as the duty member on night shift.

“I entered the officer-in-charge’s office with a young man in front of me. Upon entering the office the young man handed over cash which I did not know the exact amount to the officer-in-charge.

“The young man took a seat and I also sat on the other chair waiting for her to finish her phone communication.

“The young man thanked the officer-in-charge and went out of the office leaving me behind with the officer-in-charge,” reads part of the statement.

In the statement, it was said that the young man later returned in the company of some police officers who told him that they were from PGHQ police Internal Intelligence.

The cops are said to have told Sigauke that that they wanted to execute an authorized trap in which she was accused of receiving bribe money.

“One of the police details told the officer-in-charge that they wanted to carry out a search in her office thus when she went back to her table where she opened the table drawer and took the money and folded it in her hands,” reads part of the statement.

The matter was slated for trial continuation on June 6 when the State is expected to produce evidence on how Muzamhindo was interfered with before he testified in court. H-Metro