Police attempted to conceal evidence in Gokwe murder — Judge

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High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi rapped the Gokwe police who investigated the murder of MDC-T activist Moses Chokuda, for attempting to conceal evidence in favour of the accused persons at the just-ended trial.

Delivering judgment, Justice Mathonsi said the court noted a worrying trend in which it appeared the police were attempting to conceal evidence in favour of the accused persons.

The convicted murderers are Farai Machaya, a member of the Zanu PF provincial youth executive and son of Midlands Zanu PF chairman, Governor and Resident Minister Jason Machaya , Edmore and Bothwell Gana, sons of Zanu PF Gokwe District Coordinating Committee chairman Ignatius Gana, and Abel Maphosa, a close friend of the Machaya’s and a Zanu PF activist.

“The manner in which the Gokwe police who investigated the murder handled the matter was far beyond expectation and we cannot exclude the fact that the police attempted to downplay what happened in favour of the defence. The police omitted vital evidence which was led by State witnesses and this is not acceptable,” Justice Mathonsi said.

The judge noted that State witnesses, who included Tinoziva Batisa, Tinashe Kwicho and Headman Isau Ndokwana, had all told the court that vital information they had given the police in their statements was missing.

“Batisa told the court that he had told the police that Chokuda was tied with a rope on arrival at Mukombegumi business centre and was dragged by the feet and hit the ground head first as he was forced off the vehicle. Ndokwana also reported he had been assaulted by the accused persons who claimed they were police officers and soldiers, but all this was missing from their statements which they were made to sign without reading them,” said Mathonsi.

Father of the deceased Tavengwa Chokuda wrote to Attorney-General Johannes Tomana that he suspected top Zanu PF officials of trying to block the law from dealing with the accused.

He called on the AG to assist in bringing the people who murdered his son to book. The courts found the four guilty of murder with constructive intent and jailed them 18 years each.