BULAWAYO High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese has blocked Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga and a Chief Superintendent Nyapfuri from setting a board of inquiry to probe a junior cop, Vusumuzi Ncube, facing charges of fraud and misconduct.
BY SILAS NKALA
Ncube had filed an urgent chamber application at the Bulawayo High Court on August 18, citing Matanga and Nyapfuri as respondents seeking to bar them from conducting the inquiry.
In his founding affidavit Ncube, who has been with the police for four years, submitted that on March 17, 2017 he appeared before a police disciplinary hearing officer, one Superintendent Musemwa of ZRP Hwange station, charged with contravening paragraph 34 of the schedule to the Police Act Chapter 11:10.
“I was duly convicted on May 11 2017 and was fined $10. I filed an appeal with the 1st respondent (Matanga). First respondent set aside my conviction and acquitted me on September 13, 2017 being the convening order,” part of Ncube’s paper read.
“However, on May 2, 2018 I was convicted by the magistrates’ court sitting at Hwange of contravening 136 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act Chapter 9:23 based on the same circumstances.
“I filed my notice of appeal with the court and the appeal is pending — being the notice and grounds of appeal.”
Ncube said he had been served with a notice to appear before a board of inquiry based on his conviction in the magistrates’ court set for August 15, 2018 — having been postponed from the initial date of July 19, 2018 notwithstanding that his appeal at the High Court is still pending.
“Should the board of inquiry proceed, which as stated is unlawful, I may be irreparably prejudiced as I might lose my job,” he submitted.
“Wherefore I pray for an interdict, interdicting the second respondent from convening a board of inquiry on suitability before my appeal is heard.”
In his ruling, Justice Makonese said: “The 1st respondent (Matanga) be and is hereby interdicted from convening a board of inquiry in respect of the suitability of the applicant pending finalisation of applicant’s appeal under case number HCA59/18.”
At the magistrate’s court, Ncube was accused of fraud in which it is alleged that on March 13, 2017, together with his six accomplices deployed at Cross Mabale along Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road for traffic enforcement duties, a member of the team arrested Soren Lindstrom, a tourist at Hwange National Park Lodge who was driving a Toyota Land Cruiser with Botswana number plates, whom they charged for having no lock nuts.
They allegedly charged him $40, but receipted only $10 on the top copy they retained as proof of payment. Lindstrom was later tipped by an official at a lodge that the fine of $40 was illegal and he confronted the police officers, who in turn asked for the copy they gave him before one of them chewed it to destroy the evidence.
A report made to police, led to Ncube’s arrest.