By NKOSENTSHA KHUMALO BULAWAYO magistrate Stephen Ndlovu has been jailed three years for criminal abuse of office.
Ndlovu (48) of Thorngrove in Bulawayo unlawfully issued a court order to release an exhibit held by the police.
He was found guilty of the charges by Bulawayo provincial magistrate Rose Dube on Friday.
A year of his sentence was, however, suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.
Prosecutor Naison Chivayo told the court that in September 2021 at the Bulawayo Magistrates Court, Ndlovu issued a ruling granting the release of a motor vehicle that had been held as an exhibit by the police.
Ndlovu was found guilty of signing a draft order granting the release of the vehicle in respect of the application by one Noah Wambe.
The vehicle was being held as an exhibit by the police in a matter in which one Silvester Chitandawata had been arrested on theft and money-laundering allegations.
During investigations, the police found out that Chitandawata had bought a BMW vehicle, a Honda Fit and an Itel A56 cellphone using stolen money.
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Police then tracked the items, seized them and kept them as exhibits pending finalisation of Chitandawata’s criminal case.
Wambe made an application on August 25 demanding that the silver Honda Fit vehicle be released to him, but it was opposed by the State.
The prosecution alleged that Ndlovu then ignored the State’s evidence and proceeded to hear Wambe’s application.
He then instructed Andrew Herbert Magumise from the clerk of courts office to dispatch a court order dated August 25, 2021 and stamped on September 7, 2021 to Wambe, granting the release of the vehicle.
On September 7, Wambe in the company of his lawyer Bartholomew Mhandire, approached Mzilikazi Police Station armed with a court order demanding the release of the vehicle.
He was ordered to return at a later date while the police verified the authenticity of the court order.
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