Corrupt detectives at Harare Central Police Station have been accused of deliberately torching the building to cover their tracks after stealing US$45,000 in cash meant as evidence. The three dirty cops appeared in court on Tuesday.
The accused trio, consisting of Detective Inspector Stanley Musekiwa, Detective Constable Takaidza Mugwisi, and Detective Sergeant Masimba Stanley Gwasunda, stood before Harare magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa to answer the grave allegations of theft and malicious damage to property.
Court proceedings revealed a trail of deceit and dishonesty that led to the inferno. The cash, which should have been securely stored in the homicide division of the Criminal Investigations Department, was instead placed inside a seemingly inconspicuous four-plate stove in the exhibits room. This reckless decision would prove to be their downfall.
In the early hours of August 6, a fire erupted within the police station, engulfing the premises in chaos and confusion. Firefighters valiantly battled the flames for hours, only to discover a sh0cking truth once the embers settled: the cash had vanished before the fire even started.
Prosecutor Pardon Dziva painted a damning picture of the accused detectives’ actions. It was revealed that Mugwisi had recovered a substantial sum of US$40,500 from a suspect involved in a home invasion. Alongside an additional US$5,000 collected on separate occasions, this cash found its way into the hands of Musekiwa, who entrusted it to Gwasunda.
However, instead of following the prescribed protocol and securing the money in a safe location, Musekiwa and Gwasunda made a fateful decision. They concealed the cash inside the very four-plate stove that would soon become a fiery crime scene.
Under the cover of darkness, the officers took advantage of an electrical fault at the Harare Central Police Station. They cunningly stage-managed a break-in, cutting the padlock securing the screen gate with a bolt cutter, though it later emerged that they had access to the keys. The stolen cash, still awaiting a formal count and record as exhibits, disappeared into thin air.
The audacity of their actions didn’t end there. In a desperate attempt to erase any evidence of their illicit activities, the trio set the room ablaze. The fire mercilessly consumed not only the stolen cash but also a multitude of other exhibits, including two four-plate stoves, a fridge, a bed, clothing, crates of beer, mobile phones, TV sets, radios, and gas tanks. The extent of the damage to the building and the total value of the destroyed exhibits are yet to be determined.
Adding to the intrigue, Mugwisi mysteriously vanished from the scene of the crime just as the fire brigade arrived. His sudden disappearance only deepens the suspicions surrounding this elaborate scheme.
Forensic experts, in their meticulous examination, confirmed that the fire was intentionally started in Room 26. Furthermore, their report revealed a sh0cking absence of any residual remains of the cash in the four-plate stove oven drawer, indicating that the funds were absent before the inferno engulfed the station.
As the courtroom drama unfolded, Detective Inspector Stanley Musekiwa’s three wives looked on from the public gallery, undoubtedly sh0cked and dismayed by the allegations brought against their husband.
As the investigation continues to unravel the web of deceit, the public eagerly awaits justice, hoping that the truth will prevail and those responsible for this brazen act of theft and destruction will face the full force of the law.