State appeals against former top cop’s acquittal

BY STAFF REPORTER

The State intends to appeal the acquittal of former Mbare Traffic officer-in-charge Violet Sigauke who was facing charges of taking bribes from commuter omnibus operators in return for safe passage.

Sigauke was arrested after a trap was set up by the internal police unit. One of the police officers sustained a cut on the finger while trying to retrieve the trap money from the accused’s mouth which she had allegedly swallowed to hide the evidence.

In acquitting Sigauke, magistrate Lazini Ncube ruled that the police officer’s evidence was supposed to be treated with caution because they wanted their trap
to succeed.

Ncube also dismissed all State witnesses’ testimonies except of Wilson Siwela and Lot Muzanindo. The magistrate further discredited Siwela’s testimony, saying
he was lying.

But in the request for appeal, the State represented by prosecutor Francisca Mukumbiri said they believe the court grossly erred in acquitting Sigauke on
reasons that they produced a phone call history of Sigauke contacting the complainant Kudzai Mapako.

Mukumbiri said the court turned a blind eye and never commented on crucial evidence of the communication with complainants on the day of her arrests.

She said if Sigauke had not solicited bribe money why did she meet the witnesses on the day of arrest.

She submitted that the court indicated that Siwela was the key witness in the matter, but his testimony was discredited on the grounds that he was given the money by someone who was not initially mentioned and later turned a blind eye on the evidence that he had handed the money he received to Sigauke.

Sigauke, during her defence, had alleged that she was being victimised by former police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri. She alleged that the commuter
omnibus that she was alleged to have demanded a bribe from belonged to Chihuri’s wife. But the State requested for documentation to prove that the Mama Rue
commuter omnibus belonged to Chihuri’s wife and they failed.

“This is a case which is definitely up for appeal sir. A different court will reach a different verdict. The prospects of success are 100% as all the evidence
was very clear. We are seeking for a leave to appeal as the State managed to prove beyond reasonable doubt, call history are there in the record though the
court ignored them,” the letter addressed to the Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi reads.

Allegations were that in January 2017, Sigauke asked Mapako, who is the manager of Mama Ru Commuter Company, to give her $120. It is alleged that the money was
for free passage of his commuter omnibuses for two weeks.

Mapako allegedly met Sigauke at a bank in Graniteside in Harare and paid $40. But she allegedly refused to accept it, saying it was too little and then demanded $60 per week instead for free passage of his fleet.

The court heard that on February 8, 2017, Sigauke pestered Mapako for the money and Mapako allegedly contacted his friend, Reuben Chimanja and asked him to pay
the money on his behalf since he was out of Harare.

But Chimanja went to police headquarters to report the matter and a trap was set.

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