By Nyore Madzianike
The law officer who consented to bail for the suspected leader of a gang of violent armed robbers, Tapiwa Kasema, defied instructions ordering prosecutors to seek higher approval for bail concessions, his remand court heard yesterday.
Kasema is now facing charges of criminal abuse of office for consenting to bail for Taj Abdul and three others, allegedly members of the same gang, when they applied for bail at the High Court.
The latest instructions came from Mr Michael Mugabe, employed as Head Setdown Division at the National Prosecuting Authority, and details of how law officers are supposed to handle matters pertaining to firearms, violence and armed robbers.
Giving evidence for the State, which is opposing bail for Kasema on the grounds that he might abscond, the investigating officer in his case, Detective Assistant Inspector Collius Mushambi, questioned by Mr Lancelot Mutsokoti who is appearing for the State, said: “There are standard operating procedures, clearly outlining how the accused is supposed to operate as far as consent to bail to accused arrested for armed robberies, firearms or violence is concerned.
“There is a memorandum dated November 19, 2020 from accused’s superiors reminding law officers how they were to operate in respect of violent crimes,” he said.
Det Asst Insp Mushambi said the section dealing with bail consents made it clear that “all consents must first of all be approved by your superior. No one should file a consent without the knowledge of your superior regardless of the nature of the offence”.
Det Asst Insp Mushambi said police were afraid that Kasema could abscond from the trial considering that he was difficult to locate when they wanted to arrest him. He said Kasema only surrendered himself after realising that the net was closing on him with the social media being awash with news that he was wanted by the police.
“(The) matter was brought to police on Monday and with a view to arresting the accused, we visited the address which was known to police. Accused did not reside there but it was his parents’ address and we left a message that he was being sought by police.
“We later managed to obtain the actual address of accused on Tuesday and again a message was left that he was wanted by police. We could not locate him the whole of Wednesday and did not report for work. He came to the police yesterday (Wednesday) accompanied by his defence counsel.
“He said he was consulting legal practitioners when we asked about his whereabouts. We discovered that the coming of accused to police was after he had realised that he could not hide because the matter was on social media. There are submissions prepared by accused consenting to bail for applicants filed at the High Court of Zimbabwe, a copy is with police,” he said.
Det Asst Insp Mushambi told the court that there will be public disorder if Kasema was released on bail considering the number of calls received by police regarding Taj Abdul’s release.
“There will be public disorder. There has been public outcry over the matter. There were several calls to the police asking what was happening and that alone may cause people not to trust the justice delivery of the country,” he said.
The matter is expected to continue today or Monday depending on the availability of the magistrate handling the matter, Mr Ngoni Nduna, with Kasema’s lawyer Mr Steady Kachere cross-examining Det Asst Insp Mushambi. Kasema was remanded in custody pending the outcome of his bail application. The Herald