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SMS sells out top cop

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A mobile phone text message to a junior police officer exposed an alleged plot by the officer-in-charge of Inyathi Police Station in Matabeleland North to cover up a fraud case.

This came out yesterday when Inspector Muhlaba Sibanda appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Tawanda Muchemwa facing charges of obstructing investigations into a fraud case involving $192.

The money had been collected from members of the neighbourhood watch committee and was meant to buy material for their uniforms.

Sibanda, who is due to retire from the police force on January 31, was not asked to plead to defeating or obstructing investigations.

He was remanded out of custody to February 1 on $50 bail.

It is alleged that sometime early last year, Sibanda held a meeting with members of the neighbourhood watch committee in Inyathi where they agreed they would contribute $16 each towards the purchase of material for their uniforms.

The money collected amounted to $950.

At the end of December, Sibanda allegedly went on leave pending his retirement and did not hand over the money or material to the incoming officer-in-charge.

An investigation was launched into the use of the funds and it was discovered the members had contributed $950, but $192 could not be accounted for.

Sibanda allegedly heard about the investigations and sent a text message to his junior Israel Sibanda to try and cover up for the shortfall.

The text message read: “Buy the material of 15 trousers and 15 shirts and cause it to be locked in the room you were using, I will confirm knowledge of the material.”

However, the text message was intercepted by other senior police officers at the station, leading to his arrest.

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