BY STAFF REPORTER
Two top Marondera detectives allegedly intercepted more than 100 stolen tobacco bales and connived with the armed robbers to sell the loot before sharing the proceeds.
Tapera Bvunzawabaya (36) and Phenias Bizabani (36) from CID Law and Order appeared before Marondera magistrate Rumbidzai Munemo facing criminal abuse of office charges and were ordered to apply for bail at the High Court.
They will return to court on September 10 for trial.
According to court papers, on July 22, Albert Mhari, Kezias Chonde, Morestaff Kapeta, Darlington Mhari and their accomplices who are still at large, went to Karimazondo Farm in Marondera where they ambushed the security guard, Christopher Mukobvu.
One of the suspects produced a pistol and threatened to shoot the security guard before tying his hands and legs with shoe laces.
The robbers then proceeded to a parked truck in the farm yard, assaulted the truck driver Shepherd Dabvu with fists and stabbed him several times on his buttocks before throwing him out of the vehicle.
They allegedly took the truck and its trailer laden with 130 bales of tobacco and drove to Cotter Farm along Longlands in Marondera owned by Talent Kaseke where they offloaded the bales.
They dumped the truck near the farm.
A police report was made at Marondera Central where Bizabani and Bvunzawabaya are stationed as detectives.
The accused made their investigations and found the tobacco bales at Cotter Farm where they were being repackaged to conceal their initial identification.
The two suspects allegedly demanded bribes from Mhari and his accomplices to avoid being arrested.
The, robbers, however had no money with them resulting in the detectives joining them in disposing the stolen tobacco bales.
Bizabani allegedly called one Shingirayi Mutsinziri to transport the stolen tobacco bales to Harare for sale.
The detectives also approached Talent Kaseke’s wife and got permission to use her grower’s number to sell the tobacco.
Bizabani and Bvunzawabaya then used their power as police officers to escort the trucks in their black Mercedes Benz to Harare during Covid-19 curfew hours.
They facilitated safe passage for the two trucks at police checkpoints to Harare where the tobacco was sold before sharing the proceeds.
The matter came to light after the arrest of Kapeta following a parallel investigation that included officials from the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and he implicated the detectives.
Detectives recovered torn bale tags and sacks printed with the complainant’s growers’ number.
Upon being quizzed, the farmer admitted that the detectives were at the repackaging site on the day.
The total value of the stolen tobacco was pegged at US$58 000 and nothing was recovered.
Kapeta and his team are also in remand over armed robbery charges.