FORMER Highlands Police Station officer-in-charge Dzingira Cheche, who ventured into a criminal enterprise after serving the force for 22 years, was yesterday slapped with a nine-year jail term after being convicted of robbing Total Service Station in Harare where he made off with over $400 cash and two cellphones.
Before retiring from the police force, Cheche (46) had rose through the ranks to the level of Police Inspector, a post which he held before deciding to leave the force and joining a local private security firm.
The former top cop, however, will serve a six-year effective jail term after regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya suspended three years on condition of good behaviour.
In passing sentence Mujaya lambasted Cheche for bringing the name of the police force into disrepute.
“You were once a very valuable member of society, but after serving the force for a very long time, your behaviour has ended up tarnishing the reputation of the police force,” Mujaya said.
In his mitigation, Cheche pleaded with the court to consider a hefty fine for the offence, but the magistrate said such a sentence would trivialise the offence.
“Would you be happy as a former In-Charge-Crime, to see dockets of robbers being referred back to your station with an endorsement that the suspects would have walked away with a fine?” the magistrate asked, to which Cheche initially replied: “It would depend on the accused’s submissions.”
But later he changed his stance and told the court he would not be happy at all.
The weapon, a CZ pistol, which was used in the commission of
the offence, was forfeited to the State.
The court heard, on May 1 this year at around 4am, Cheche proceeded to Total Service Station at corner of Kwame Nkrumah Avenue and Sam Nujoma Street where he robbed the complainant Milton Maambiwa (26), a cashier, and Tawanda Chimwanda, a fuel attendant.
Armed with a pistol loaded with three live rounds, the court heard, Cheche approached Maambiwa who was seated inside the shop at the till point and ordered him to lie down before demanding cash and his cellphone.
After robbing Maambiwa he then proceeded to confront Chimwanda who was outside and demanded his cell phone as well.