Nyanyadzi hidden treasure: Top cops acquitted

The three, who were represented by lawyers Joseph Nemaisa, Musindo Hungwe and George Manokore, pleaded not guilty to the allegations.

A MUTARE regional court has acquitted three senior police detectives from the Asset Forfeiture Unit headquarters who were accused of digging up a homestead in Nyanyadzi, Manicaland province, in search of an undisclosed hidden treasure in 2022 saying they were acting within the confines of the law.

The trio — Shephered Tachiona, Mkhululi Nyoni and Monica Madzima — was acquitted by magistrate Fadzai Mthombeni at the close of the State case.

They were charged with criminal abuse of duty as public officers, as defined in section 174(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23].

According to the State, the trio was accused of not informing relevant departments that include Mines and Mining Development, National Housing as well as Defence ministries and CID Minerals, Flora and Fauna department of police.

The three, who were represented by lawyers Joseph Nemaisa, Musindo Hungwe and George Manokore, pleaded not guilty to the allegations.

Their main witness, police Assistant Commissioner Themba Mushoriwa’s testimony was discredited under cross-examination and he ended up making concessions, which confirmed the accused’s defences.

Mushoriwa had told the court that the accused persons acted outside their policing area, but ended up conceding under cross-examination that Tachiwona and Nyoni’s areas of policing included the whole Zimbabwe, while Madzima operates in the northern region which covers Mashonaland, Masvingo and Manicaland provinces.

Mushoriwa also conceded that the place of scene was under Madzima’s policing area, but failed to provide the operating standard procedure prohibiting the accused persons from operating within the said area.

Despite Mushoriwa having testified that they had not notified him, he conceded under oath that the accused persons had performed at law and there was no standard procedure that obligated any of them to first inform him before they could search or seize anything from anyone.

Mushoriwa conceded the accused had lawfully applied for a warrant of search and seizure.

It was proven that the accused persons investigated a crime that fell well within their mandate as officers deployed to the Criminal Investigations Department Asset Forfeiture Unit.

The accused persons were executing a warrant of search issued by a court of law, saying there was no need to inform other government departments.

The second State witness, Simangaliso Memory Mushaya, an agricultural extension officer, also confirmed that the police were empowered with a warrant of search and seizure and also confirmed that the premise owner was aware of the hidden treasure as her husband once dug the same premise in search of it.

The third witness, Victor Mukungunugwa, a scientist employed by the Zimbabwe National Geospacial Space Agency, was also present in his capacity as a scientist employed by the State and that he had been cleared by his own director to assist the accused persons with the survey.

He also confirmed the presence of the hidden treasure.

Another State witness, Revesai Zvigodini Matimba, a prophet and an individual with the skill to detect hidden minerals through the use of wires, told the court that he was invited by the accused persons to assist with the survey.

He told the court that he met with the accused persons at ZRP Mkushi Depot (formerly Morris Depot) in Harare, where he was shown a search warrant, after which the accused asked for his help.

The witness also told the court that he agreed to help for no payment as he wanted to help the State.

The accused persons, through their lawyers, submitted that the State failed to prove their actions were unlawful.

Mthombeni, however, ruled in favour of the trio, saying the State failed to prove a case against the accused persons.

“Once the court has made a finding to the effect that there is no evidence that the accused committed the offence charged or any other offence arising from that charge, it has no option but to find the accused not guilty and discharge him or her.

“In this case, there was no evidence to prove an essential element of the offence.

“There is no evidence on which a reasonable court acting carefully might properly convict. No evidence was also led to prove a breach of general law,” Mthombeni ruled.

According to the prosecution, Tachiona, Nyoni and Madzima purportedly dug the yard of Mushaya’s homestead without authorisation from their superiors or engagement with relevant government experts.

On December 22, the accused officers reportedly arrived at the Nyanyadzi Irrigation Scheme armed with a search and seizure warrant issued on October 18, 2023, obtained at Chipinge Magistrates Court.

They informed the homeowner, Mushaya, of their intention to dig up her yard in search of the hidden treasure.

Related Topics