ROGUE law enforcement agents operating at Chiadzwa diamond fields are being used as couriers to transport stolen diamonds from the area, with two Mutare Central District senior police officers recently arrested over the illegal activities, The Manica Post has learnt.
Illegal diamond syndicates have allegedly enlisted the services of rogue cops to transport the loot through roadblocks to circumvent tight security check points at the diamond mining area.
A source close to the dealings said the cops involved have amassed great wealth overnight, with some of them buying houses and posh vehicles from the proceeds of the illegal activities.
The Manica Post understands that last week’s arrest of two senior detectives who are attached to the Minerals, Fauna and Flora Unit is just a tip of an iceberg of the illegal enterprise going on at Chiadzwa. Joseph Mlambo, an Assistant Inspector; and Felix Machaka, an Inspector who is also Officer-In-Charge of the Minerals, Fauna and Flora Unit, have since been hauled before Mutare magistrate, Ms Prisca Manhivi, on charges of possessing precious stones, resisting arrest and trying to obstruct the course of justice.
Machaka was granted $6 000 bail for trying to obstruct the course of justice, while Mlambo was granted a total of $16 000 for dealing in diamonds and resisting arrest.
Prosecuting, Mrs Tawananyasha Muuya said on May 29 at around 5am, Detective Constable Chidhakwa was informed that some diamonds were being smuggled from Chiadzwa.
“Detective Constable Chidhakwa teamed up with two other police officers and proceeded to the Hotsprings-Chiadzwa Road. The three detectives set up a roadblock.
“At around 7.30am, a truck approached the roadblock. Mlambo was seated on the front passenger seat while Tafadzwa Mafukidze was driving.
“Detective Constable Chidhakwa signalled Mafukidze to stop the car and he compiled. However, Mlambo disembarked from the vehicle and charged towards Detective Constable Chidhakwa, instructing him to allow them to proceed,” said Mrs Muuya.
“With Detective Constable Chidhakwa indicating that he wanted to search the vehicle, Mlambo allegedly threatened to beat him up.
“A fight broke out between the two until one of Detective Constable Chidhakwa’s colleagues intervened and managed to subdue Mlambo. Magune then proceeded to search the vehicle. He recovered 12 pieces of diamonds from Mlambo’s dust coat pocket,” she said.
After the discovery of the diamonds, the two suspects pleaded with the police detectives to talk over the issue without going to the police station.
However, the arresting team called Machaka and briefed him on the development. Machaka rushed to the scene and instructed Detective Constable Chidhakwa and his colleagues to proceed to the station with the diamonds. He said he would bring the suspects.
However, it is the State’s case that Machaka released the accused persons without taking them to court.
The matter only came to light on September 19 when the CID Anti-Corruption Unit got wind of the murky case.
This led to the arrest of Machaka and Mlambo. However, Mafukidze is yet to be arrested.
Officer Commanding Manicaland Police, Commissioner Dr Wiklef Makamache, said there is zero tolerance to corruption within the police force.
He said they will not cover up for police officers who are caught on the wrong side of the law.
Dr Makamache said the two cops will also face internal disciplinary over the case.
“Corruption is a cancerous syndrome that keeps on tarnishing the image of the Zimbabwe Republic Police,” he said, adding that the ZRP has formed anti-corruption teams at provincial and district levels to deal with the vice.
“Senior officers are deployed to Chiadzwa to ensure maximum supervision of deployed police personnel. Commanders frequently carry-out impromptu visits to check on adherence to strategies that are meant to curb illegal dealings in diamonds,” he said.
— Manica Post