PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s director of research, Thabani Mpofu, yesterday told Harare magistrate Anita Tshuma that the police had frustrated his efforts to surrender his firearm after leaving the employ of the Attorney General (AG)’s Office in 2003.
Mpofu, who was led by his lawyer Alec Muchadehama in the matter in which he allegedly failed to renew the firearm certificate, said he was given the firearm to protect himself at a time when the AG’s Office was prosecuting high-profile cases involving dangerous criminals.
During that time, he said, some law officers were threatened with death. He claimed that at one time a plan was hatched to hire assassins from Mozambique to kill him.
He said after his resignation in 2003, it was felt that he should retain the firearm as there was a possibility that some of the people who had intended to kill him still harboured the intention.
The former prosecutor told the court that the charges against him were “maliciously preferred by people who have personal interests”.
Mpofu said when he enquired about the firearm upon his resignation, he was told he could lawfully retain it since it was registered in his name.
He said when the licence first expired in 2007, he did not renew it because he was “under the mistaken view” that it was State property.
He further said when he spoke to various police officers, they gave him differing views on what he should do about it after officers at Bulawayo Charge Office had told him he could not surrender it to them because it was registered in his name.
Mpofu said the police officers he worked with then were professional and civil, but claimed that of late, “it’s not a picnic to be invited to Homicide (department)”.
“I have now learnt that my ex-colleagues can be more vindictive than the accused persons,” he said, adding that it was because of such conduct that he
was more determined to surrender the firearm.
He said when he first went to the Firearm Registry back in 2006, there was no animosity and he was just told that he had to surrender the gun to Avondale Police Station, which was closest to his place of residence.
All the efforts, he said, yielded no results and in some cases, the police officers he dealt with appeared jittery.