A POLICE officer allegedly stole an impounded R3 million top-of the range car kept at Beitbridge Police station after lying to a colleague that he had been authorised by his superior to remove the vehicle from the yard.
The car, a silver Range Rover, which was smuggled into the country from South Africa, was found abandoned near Chicago Village Business Centre on the outskirts of Beitbridge.
Sergeant Trust Mawire (35) allegedly hired a road recovery vehicle to tow the smuggled car out of the police station impound yard after lying to a police officer assigned to guard the car that he had been authorised by the station’s officer-in-charge to release the car.
He allegedly took the stolen car to an unknown destination and it was never recovered.
Mawire is now facing charges of theft of motor vehicle. This emerged when Mawire approached the High Court seeking bail pending trial.
In papers before the court, Mawire through his lawyer Mr Kholwani Ngwenya of TJ Mabhikwa and Partners, filed an application for bail pending trial at the Bulawayo High Court citing the State as a respondent.
In his bail statement, Mawire is denying the charges, arguing that there was no evidence linking him to the alleged offence.
Mr Ngwenya said there were no compelling reasons justifying his client’s continued detention at Beitbridge Remand Prison.
“It is averred that the applicant may run away if released on bail because of the gravity of the offence and the value of the car involved. However, while these may appear like sound reasons for opposition of bail, they are of no consequence in respect of the applicant who believes in his innocence to the charges proffered against him,” he said.
Mr Ngwenya said his client was not likely to abscond if released on bail.
“The applicant has not shown any propensity to flee and an assertion that he may flee should be weighed against previous actions by him to do so. The accused person has no knowledge of the alleged offence as he took no part in the removal of the vehicle from the ZRP impound yard,” he said.
Mawire argued that he was only linked to the offence by virtue of his involvement in the vehicle’s discovery in the bush.
He further argued that there was nothing, which was placed before the court to support the reasons to oppose bail.
.Mawire, who is now based in Chegutu, argued that he was a proper candidate for bail. He offered to pay $800 bail as well as reporting once every week at Chegutu Police Station until the matter is finalised.
The State, which was represented by Mr Trust Muduma, opposed the application, arguing that if released on bail, Mawire was likely to abscond and interfere with State witnesses.
According to court papers, it was stated that on September 14 last year, Mawire and his workmates found the South African registered car abandoned in a bushy area near Chicago Village Business Centre. It was suspected to have been smuggled from South Africa through an illegal crossing point along the Limpopo River.
The cops towed the car to the police station. Two weeks later, Mawire allegedly hired a road recovery vehicle to tow the stolen out of the police impound yard. He allegedly took the car to an unknown destination after allegedly convincing the police officer guarding the impound yard that he had been authorised by the officer-in-charge to released it.