The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) yesterday blamed immigration officials for handing over MDC Alliance principal Tendai Biti, arguing they were the ones who took the accused from the Zambian authorities without a deportation certificate.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Biti, who is represented by Beatrice Mtetwa, accused the police of abducting him from the Zambian authorities despite the Lusaka High Court order which barred them from deporting him.
The MDC Alliance official had fled the country to seek asylum in Zambia, claiming there was a plot to assassinate him together with Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa.
Chief Superintendent Jealous Nyabasa said he did not deliberately mislead the court when he referred to Biti as a border jumper, but it was the immigration officials who characterised him as such.
Mtetwa had asked Nyabasa why he characterised his client as a border jumper when he, in fact, used a designated point of exit when he went to Zambia for asylum.
“You accept that unlike famous border jumpers, it is false and misleading to characterise my client as a border jumper when he lawfully exited Zimbabwe? Mtetwa asked.
“You deliberately misled the magistrate by characterising him as a border jumper.”
But Nyabasa claimed he did not mislead the court. “We gave him the correct information. Things about his border jumping at Chirundu Border Post immigration officials can answer that. They are the ones who handed over Biti to us,” Nyabasa replied.
ZRP are denying playing a part in the abduction of Biti from the Zambian authorities, but the MDC Alliance principal is insisting that the police, with the help of other government security agents, abducted him despite not having the court order.
However, the police admitted altering dates of the charge sheet from August 9 to 8 to make it appear as if they charged Biti before a Lusaka High Court order, which was handed on the 9th. On the boob, Nyabasa told the court that it was only a clear error.
Magistrate Francis Mapfumo postponed the matter to Monday for continuation of cross-examination.