Thirty-four Ethiopian nationals, who were arrested by the police while hiding at a farm in Macheke, yesterday appeared before magistrate Arnold Maburo at Macheke circuit court facing charges of breaching the Immigration Act.
By Jairos Saunyama
The all-male group was arrested alongside locals Oswell Machipisa (27), Anyway Ndowa (34) and Tendai Shamba (34), who are accused of transporting the illegal migrants from Nyamapanda border post en route to Beitbridge border post.
The three locals, who all reside in Nyamapanda, are also accused of trying to bribe police officers to release the Ethiopians, who were arrested hidden at Monchera Farm in Macheke.
The Ethiopians’ case was remanded to tomorrow for trial.
According to court papers, on January 29, Machipisa and Ndowa allegedly ferried the illegal immigrants from Nyamapanda border post to Macheke, where they hid them in the bush at Monchera Farm.
It is alleged that Machipisa left Ndowa guarding the foreign nationals, as he sought alternative transport to take them to Beitbridge.
It is alleged that the Monchera Farm manager, identified as Haukozi, spotted Machipisa boarding a van and intercepted him.
Machipisa was taken to the police station, where he implicated Ndowa, who kept on calling him inquiring about transport to move the foreign nationals.
It is alleged that the police then arrested the Ethiopians after Machipisa took them to where they were hiding.
Ndowa, who was not at the scene when police arrived, was then informed of the arrests and drove from Nyamapanda in the company of Shamba in a bid to bribe the police officers to release the foreign nationals.
The two were subsequently arrested upon arrival after they tried to offer a $1 200 bribe to police officers.
Lee Gada represented the State.