A Bulawayo magistrate on Wednesday ordered the arrest of two senior police officers for defying a court order directing them to release a vehicle belonging to a man allegedly linked to a stocktheft syndicate.
Magistrate Victor Mpofu ordered summons to be issued against Officer Commanding Crime in Lupane District Chief Superintendent Johannes Govo, and Nyamandlovu Police Station officer-in–charge Inspector Lainos Dlamini, to appear in court on contempt of court charges.
Mpofu issued the summons after the two senior police officers reportedly defied a court order to release a vehicle belonging to Nkosinamandla Ndlovu that was impounded after it was used by a stocktheft syndicate linked to businessman Mthabisi Sivako.
The magistrate two weeks ago gave an order that the police release the vehicle.
“It is hereby ordered that Applicant’s vehicle registration number ABG 1763 be released to applicant identity number 08- 728360 X41,” ruled Mpofu.
Despite the order the vehicle was still in police custody at Nyamandlovu after the police refused to release it to Ndlovu.
However Govo told NewsDay on Sunday they had not forfeited the vehicle but were holding it as an exhibit and would only release it after the matter was finalised.
On Wednesday, Ndlovu went back to the court seeking the release of his vehicle. Govo and Dlamini were summoned but did not come to court.
Mpofu then inquired from Ndlovu whether he had received his vehicle, but he advised the court the police were refusing to release it.
The magistrate then ordered Goodluck Katenaire for the state to issue summons to Govo and Dlamini so that contempt charges would be preferred against them.
“Court calls Assistant Inspector Nkomo and advises her of the arrest of the two persons. Charges of contempt of court are to be preferred against Chief Supt Govo and Insp Dlamini,” ordered Mpofu.
Ndlovu told the court his vehicle was hired by Sivako’s children to carry a fridge from Magwegwe in Bulawayo to a butchery in Mzilikazi suburb.
Sivako is jointly charged with his wife, Yvonne and 11 others who are allegedly part of a stocktheft syndicate that was operating in Nyamandlovu.
The alleged stocktheft syndicate was bust after police arrested three suspects, who led them to a house in Queenspark East, which had been turned into an abattoir.
The trio then implicated Sivako and his wife as the ringleaders, leading to their arrest.