Cop in trouble over top prosecutor’s case

Source: Cop in trouble over top prosecutor’s case – NewsDay Zimbabwe

BY RICHARD MUPONDE

A ZIMBABWE Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) detective recently touched a raw nerve which led to his transfer after he recommended the trial of principal prosecutor, Chris Mutangadura, on criminal abuse of office charges.

The Zacc investigating officer, one Chief Inspector Murira, landed himself in trouble after he discovered that Mutangadura had allegedly smuggled a handwritten report from a private handwriting expert, LT Nhari, and ordered the prosecution of Bulawayo businessman Lovemore Kutamahufa for forging his business partner, Lungisani Ncube’s signature in an application for a bank loan with FBC Bank.

Kutamahufa reported Mutangadura for corruptly aiding Ncube to have a forensic examination of the alleged forged papers by Nhari after bypassing a government handwriting expert, Clara Beatrice Tendai Gombakomba, in a case the businessman is facing in court.

Mutangadura had allegedly lied that Gombakomba had no capacity to examine the samples, an assertion she refuted in her statement to Zacc investigators.

Murira, who was the investigating officer, was transferred after he reportedly discovered that Mutangadura had a case to answer during his recording of a statement from the complainant, Kutamahufa, in June last year.

Insiders say Murira had obtained a search and seizure warrant from the courts, which was served to the FBC Bank requesting the financial institution to furnish the investigation team with documents pertaining to the loan application by Kutamahufa and Ncube.

The photocopied documents included the disputed forensic report by the private analyst, running diaries, and a letter written by Mutangadura.

A statement from the investigating officer stationed at Commercial Crimes division in Bulawayo, who investigated Kutamahufa, was also recorded.

Reports also suggest Gombakomba had contacted the police and indicated that she needed further samples in order for her to do a conclusive
analysis.

Martha Cheda, former provincial public prosecutor for Bulawayo province, was also contacted.

She indicated that she never sought legal opinion from Mutangadura.

Cheda said she was surprised that Mutangadura wrote a letter directing prosecution to consider a report obtained from a private forensic analyst, and at the same time indicating that the government forensic laboratory was incapacitated to do the forensic examination when, in actual fact, Gombakomba had requested for more legible handwriting samples for conclusive analysis.

It also emerged that Ncube reportedly used his money to pay for the services of the private handwriting expert.

However, sources close to the matter said after gathering the evidence, Murira prepared a Remand Form (Form 242), which was vetted by the legal department intending to take Mutangadura to court and place him on initial remand.

Thereafter, he reportedly received an instruction to do a full docket.

This resulted in Murira being transferred before completing the docket on Mutangadura.

He was reportedly posted to Hwange in Matabeleland North province, with the matter being assigned to another investigation officer.

“Everything had been set for his (Mutangadura) remand. The investigation officer briefed the commissioners about the progress and requested that Mutangadura be taken to court on a request for remand form, known as Form 242, after preliminary investigations indicated that he has a case to answer. However, he was stopped and ordered to do a full docket,” the source said.

“I also gathered that he might be moved to Sacu [Special Anti-Corruption Unit]. However, I am not sure whether he left Hwange now, but national police spokesperson (Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi) could give you more details,” the source said.

Nyathi confirmed the transfer of Murira, but said it was purely an administrative issue in order to deploy experienced officers in areas where they were needed most.

Matangadura was a month ago summoned by Zacc investigators with the view of detaining and taking him to court after his docket was completed, but Zacc chairperson Loice Matanda-Moyo allegedly intervened and stopped the proceedings.

However, Matanda-Moyo has denied the allegations.

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