Police bosses in trouble after being caught digging woman’s homestead in search of hidden treasure

Commissioner Paul Nyathi

Senior police officers arrested for allegedly digging homestead in search of hidden treasure

Three senior police officers from the Asset Forfeiture Unit in Harare had an eventful Christmas break, but not in a joyous way they may have hoped for. Shepherd Tachiona (50), Mkhululi Nyoni (51), and Monica Madzima, all attached to the Asset and Forfeiture Unit at CID Headquarters in Harare, found themselves in custody after being accused of digging up a homestead in Nyanyadzi in the pursuit of an undisclosed hidden treasure.

The trio, consisting of Detective Superintendent Tachiona, Detective Chief Inspector Nyoni, and Detective Inspector Madzima, spent three nights behind bars before appearing before Mutare provincial magistrate, Mr Tendai Mahwe, on Wednesday. They faced charges of criminal abuse of duty as public officers, as defined in Section 174 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9.23.

During the court proceedings, the accused officers were remanded out of custody until January 1, 2024, after each posting a bail of US$50. As part of their bail conditions, Magistrate Mahwe ordered them to refrain from interfering with State witnesses and to continue residing at their current addresses.

The State initially opposed the granting of bail, citing overwhelming evidence linking the accused officers to the alleged offense. It was argued that they were apprehended in the midst of commissioning the act and that several witnesses could attest to their involvement.

According to the prosecution, Tachiona, Nyoni, and Madzima purportedly dug the yard of Ms Simangaliso Memory Mushaya’s homestead without authorization from their superiors or engagement with relevant government experts.

On December 22, the accused officers reportedly arrived at the Nyanyadzi Irrigation Scheme armed with a search and seizure warrant issued on October 18, 2023, by Resident Magistrate Mr Mkwananzi (Franklyn) at Chipinge Magistrates’ Court. They informed the homeowner, Ms Mushaya, of their intention to dig up her yard in search of the hidden treasure.

Although the homeowner complied with their request, it was revealed that the accused officers had not followed standard procedures. They failed to inform their superiors and neglected to engage other relevant government departments for expert assistance. Instead, they enlisted the services of a structural surveyor and a self-proclaimed prophet who claimed to possess spiritual powers for detecting precious minerals.

However, their covert operation came to an abrupt end when they were intercepted by the police on Christmas Day while actively digging for the alleged treasure. Subsequent investigations revealed that the accused officers were not on official duty and had various articles in their possession related to their treasure-seeking endeavour.

Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, the national police spokesperson, confirmed the arrests, emphasizing the police force’s zero tolerance for criminal behaviour within its ranks. Superintendent Tachiona, Detective Chief Inspector Nyoni, and Detective Inspector Madzima remain in custody pending their bail application.

“We can confirm the arrest of Superintendent Tachiona, Detective Chief Inspector Nyoni and Detective Inspector Madzima for criminal abuse of office. They have since appeared in court and were remanded in custody pending bail application,” said Assistant Commissioner Nyathi.

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