The two Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers who arrested fugitive Rotina Mavhunga, alias Sekuru Mboni, last year after she duped Cabinet ministers into believing pure diesel was oozing out of a rock, have been rewarded, albeit over 12 months later.
Constable Washington Chinyama and Sergeant Trybest Mutata were handed R200 each and certificates of merit during a belated Cop of the Month awards ceremony held in Chinhoyi.
They were adjudged the best cops for the 2010 second quarter for managing to corner and arrest the mystic figure-turned-con artist.
Guest of honour Assistant Commissioner Douglas Nyakutsikwa commended the pair for apprehending the n’anga, who in 2007 fooled Cabinet ministers into believing pure diesel was coming out of a rock at her Maningwa Hills shrine.
Mavhunga, also known as Nomatter Tagarira, was arrested last year at a farm outside the town where she was holed up.
Mavhunga, then aged 35, was in September last year slapped with a 27-month prison term by then Chinhoyi magistrate Ignatius Mugova, who found her guilty of defrauding government and supplying false information to senior officials.
The officials that were duped by Mavhunga included ministers Didymus Mutasa (then National Security), Sydney Sekeramayi (then Defence), Kembo Mohadi (Home Affairs) and former Mashonaland West governor Nelson Samkange.
In his judgment, the magistrate castigated Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede for harbouring a wanted criminal. Although Mudede was implicated in the scandal, he was never arrested or brought to testify in court.
Mudede allegedly supplied Mavhunga with 250 litres of diesel which the bogus traditional healer used to dupe Cabinet ministers, who reportedly removed their shoes, sat on stony ground and clapped hands in reverence of the n’anga at the shrine.
Mavhunga reportedly got four buffaloes, a vehicle and billions of Zimbabwean dollars for leading government on what the magistrate termed “a wild goose chase”.
During her pranks, Mavhunga once commandeered a 50-strong convoy to Makuti and Kariba and had a helicopter dispatched from Harare when the country’s fuel shortage was at its peak.
Mavhunga is still serving her sentence at Chinhoyi Prison.
Speaking on behalf of the Cop of the Month sponsors, the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe, the firm’s area manager Lancelot Ndlovu hailed the ZRP’s efforts in curbing crime in the face of serious resources constraints.