THREE Harare police officers yesterday appeared in court for allegedly stage-managing a break-in at Harare Central Stores office and stole about US$45 000, before setting the office ablaze to conceal evidence.
Stanley Musekiwa (46) from ZRP CID Stores, Takaidza Mugwisi (36) from CID Stores and Masimba Stanely Gwasunda (43) from ZRP CID Stores, were facing theft and malicious damage to property charges when they appeared before Harare magistrate Mrs Marehwanazvo Gofa.
The State opposed bail.
Musekiwa is an inspector and is the officer-in-charge, CID Stores and Business Harare, while Mugwisi and Gwasunda are his subordinates.
It is the State’s case that on June 23, Mugwisi recovered cash amounting to US$40 500 from one Carlington Gengezha, who had allegedly committed unlawful entry and theft in Belvedere, Harare.
The US$40 500 and an additional US$ 5 000 that had been recovered in different cases, was taken into possession by Musekiwa as the officer-in-charge and he handed it over to Gwasunda, who is the exhibit officer.
Musekiwa and Gwasunda, who were supposed to place the money in a safe at CID Homicide Harare for safe-keeping after being instructed by deputy director Crime CID Zimbabwe, instead stashed the cash into a four plate stove oven drawer that was in office 26 CID Stores and Business Harare.
On August 6, Mugwisi was deployed on night duty securing CID offices including the exhibit room.
It is said on the same date, at around 1am, the three police officers allegedly took advantage of darkness after an electrical fault at Harare Central Police Station and proceeded to office 26, where they stage-managed a break-in by cutting the padlock keys that secure the screen gate using a bolt cutter.
It is said the trio actually used keys to open the door and gain entry, but cut the screen gate to remove any suspicion that they may have just marched in and stole the money.
Further allegations are that the trio opened the four-plate stove’s oven drawer that had the money, before stealing the cash that was in a bag.
Other exhibits that have not been quantified, may also have been stolen, it is alleged.
It is further alleged that the suspects then set the room alight, and damaged several other exhibits comprising two four plate stoves, a fridge, a bed, various clothing items, several crates of beer, cell phones, television sets, radios and gas tanks.
The value of the destroyed exhibits and building is yet to be quantified.
The fire also caused extensive structural damage to the building.