The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has suspended the four officers, including two senior officers, already arrested or being sought on allegations of abuse of office and bribery over their handling of the investigation into the illegal sale of stands in Kuwadzana in a US$1 million scam.
The four — Deputy Director for the police CID commercial crimes unit Assistant Commissioner Obeylaw Moyo (47), Detective Assistant Inspector Claudious Majonga (37), Detective Constable Aaron Karuru (32), and a fourth officer who is still on the run — will be suspended until their cases are finalised by the courts. This is now standard police procedure for any officer before the courts on a criminal charge, or who is being sought for a criminal charge.
Should they be convicted, dismissal will be almost automatic.
Chief public prosecutor Clement Chimbare was implicated in the matter, and was arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (zacc) together the police officers.
The accused were allegedly paid off with housing stands for not arresting or not charging suspected kingpins in the scam. There is evidence that they were allocated stands in the new middle-income Harare suburb of Westlea, using waiting list numbers already given to others.
Another senior police officer, Superintendent Naboth Nyachega, and two Harare City Council officials — human resources director and former housing director Matthew Marara and housing assistant Aaron Taerera — were also arrested over the case.
Police sources yesterday confirmed the developments, saying any member arrested for any offence will automatically be suspended from duty pending investigations.
“That is the procedure. They will also be charged internally under the Police Act as part of the disciplinary processes,” said a close source yesterday.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday said he was still checking the details of the matter.
Allegations are that in September last year, the Harare municipality through town clerk, Engineer Hosiah Chisango, reported a case of suspected fraud in which Edgar Dzehonye, Mathew Marara, Rudo Chigocha, Believer Mpawaenda and Margeth Geroge were the accused persons.
The fraud arose from the alleged creation and corrupt selling of 150 stands by Dzehonye, Marara and other accomplices in Kuwadzana 3, 4, and 5 without the knowledge or approval of council.
Investigations led to the arrest of the suspects, Tapiwa Gona, Chigocha, Mpawaenda and Geroge, who then appeared in court after the required paperwork was vetted by Chief Prosecutor Chimbare at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts.
On February 4 this year, the four police officers in the direct investigation — Majonga, Karuru, Nyachega and Mutipforo — also arrested Dzehonye and Marara who appeared in court the following day.
Their docket was again vetted by chief prosecutor Chimbare, who allegedly corruptly ordered the release of Dzehonye and Marara and advised the State to proceed by way of summons as there were several others facing the same charges.
According to the State, this was despite the fact that the other four suspects had already appeared in court on the same charges and had been formally remanded, although released on $1 000 bail each.
Investigations carried out revealed that after the case of Dzehonye and Marara was ordered to proceed by way of summons, on March 19, Moyo, Majonga, Karuru and another unnamed suspect still on the run, corruptly received waiting list numbers belonging to other home-seekers and were selected for consideration of unserviced residential stands in Westlea, in a bid to jeopardise investigations and prosecution of the two.