A POLICE officer stationed at Minerals and Border Control Unit in Inyathi, Matabeleland North province, has filed an urgent chamber application at the Bulawayo High Court seeking an order to stop his trial for alleged misconduct after he allegedly stole some gold ore stored as an exhibit.
BY SILAS NKALA
In his application, Joseph Mhlanga cited a Chief Superintendent Tembo, a Senior Assistant Commissioner Chituru and Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri as respondents.
Mhlanga, in his founding affidavit, said he was recently arraigned to appear before a disciplinary board headed by Tembo in Nkayi to answer charges of contravening paragraph 34 of the Schedule of the Police Act Chapter 11:10 in connection with the alleged gold ore theft.
He said on May 25 this year, a security guard at Z009 Mine called the police to say some people were stealing gold ore from the mine.
Mhlanga allegedly teamed up with fellow police officers and went to the mine.
“When I got to the mine, I was told that the truck had left with a second load of ore. On the way, I met Thabani Ncube and Meluleko Phakathi, who said some ore had been stolen,” he said.
“The two got into a (police) Defender vehicle I was driving and we pursued the truck up to Macknuck and near Sarak 13 West Mine, where we caught up with the lorry.
“We stopped the vehicle and inside the vehicle was Constable Moyo, Noah Gurumbadza and a lady, who claimed to own the truck. On inquiry, the three indicated that the gold ore belonged to Constable Sikhosana and Constable Ngodzo.”
Mhlanga said he claimed to have been sent by the two officers to collect and transport the ore to a mill.
“As I stated earlier on, there was in our company Thabani Ncube and Meluleko Phakathi. These two challenged the explanation being given. They insisted they owned the ore. As such, there was a dispute as to who owned the ore,” he said.
Mhlanga said he then directed the truck to go to Sarah West Mill.
“The gold ore, according to the information we got, belonged to the police officers based on a precedent relating to Gold More Milling Company, where gold ore involving disputing parties was milled and kept pending verification of owner of the mine,” the police officer said.
“I instructed that in this case, the gold ore be milled as well. I opened an inquiry register number 13 of 2017 and referred the same to officer-in-charge for further instructions, as police officers were involved.
“The gold realised was 4,23 grammes and I booked it in the exhibits book … The mine ownership is in dispute between Norman Khabo and an association BSSMA Association and the case is pending at the High Court.”
Mhlanga said he later learnt that Gurumbadza had reported him for stealing the gold ore.
Chihuri and his juniors are yet to respond to the application.