HomeNewsB.I.G. off the hook

B.I.G. off the hook

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Bulawayo regional magistrate Godwin Sengweni yesterday castigated police for brutalising suspects and described their conduct as uncivilised.

Sengweni made the remarks during the acquittal of Harare businessman Wicknel Munodaani Chivayo, popularly known as B.I.G.

Chivayo was facing seven counts of fraud and money-laundering involving R2,2 million.

“On all the seven counts none of the complainants knew the accused. None of them had an encounter with the accused by whatsoever means of communicating,” the magistrate said.

One of the firms Chivayo was alleged to have duped, Astra Holdings, belongs to Vice-President John Nkomo. The magistrate said State witness Nompilo Mpofu could not be taken as a reliable witness as her evidence had been manipulated by investigating police officers.The court heard police threatened unspecified action against Mpofu if she did not testify in their favour.

“I will pass comment on the professionalism or lack of it displayed by the police officers who investigated this matter,” Sengweni said.

“By virtue of training and profession, the policemen and women whose brief is to enforce the law and start the wheels of justice, such a responsibility requires men and women of unquestionable integrity. To brutalise suspects and ignore the rudiments of the law governing the handling of suspects cannot in any way reflect a civilised police force. In the final analysis, I find the State failed to prove a prima facie case against the accused in all the counts and I proceed to find accused not guilty and acquitted on eight counts at the close of the State case.”

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