POLICE have arrested a 32-year-old man on charges of stealing tar worth $94 000 that was meant for the Harare-Masvingo Highway dualisation.
National Police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the accused, Artwell Mahakwa, was arrested in Bulawayo following a tip-off.
It is alleged that between March 4 and 6 this year, the Transport and Infrastructural Development ministry received 250×200-litre drums of tar in Chivhu.
The accused then teamed up with his accomplice, who is still at large, and stole 115 drums and hid them in Bulawayo.
“Acting on a tip-off which was received recently, police in Chivhu proceeded to Bulawayo, where they arrested the accused and recovered tar valued at $24 521,71. Total value of tar that was stolen is $94 000,” Nyathi said.
There was uproar in the country when the tar went missing and questions were raised over government’s seriousness in working on the road, which has become a death trap.
Meanwhile, Police in Mutoko intercepted 300 bags of charcoal stashed in an unmarked Iveco truck heading for Harare before arresting five suspects.
The current massive load-shedding has seen people destroying indigenous hardwood forests in Mutawatawa and Mudzi to make charcoal for resale mainly in Harare.
Mashonaland East provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tendai Mwanza confirmed the arrests of five suspects, among them a 38-year-old woman Chipo Chibadu of Rusi village, under Chief Chikwizo in Mudzi.
The other four are from Harare and they include Ephraim Mbuse (40), Macdonald Ndovha (19), Clivet Karimbika (20) and Norest Yanule (18).
“I confirm the arrest of five suspects who were nabbed while transporting 300 bags of charcoal along the Harare-Nyamapanda Highway. The suspects were charged for contravening section 29 of the Forestry Act Chapter 19:05. We urge members of the public to report any case of people transporting charcoal to alert the police,” Mwanza said.
On Saturday at around midday, the police were tipped off that the suspects were transporting charcoal to Harare using a truck.
Police officers mounted a roadblock and intercepted the red Iveco truck at the 138km peg along the Harare-Nyamapanda Highway and recovered the 300 bags of charcoal.
The truck driver, Mbuse, was arrested along with his accomplices and the truck was taken to Mutoko Police Station.
Two weeks ago, six men were arrested after they were caught with three truckloads of charcoal in Mutawatawa.
In another matter, police have released the names of people who perished along the Gweru-Masvingo road on Sunday.
They are Gladys Mapfumo (73), Francis Zvekare (25), Fortune Dube (28), Molly Muyambo (45), Tanyaradzwa Mapfumo (6) and Coneleous Basera (45).