Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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12 cops nabbed for stock theft

12 cops nabbed for stock theft

George Maponga Masvingo Bureau—
TWELVE cops based at Zaka Police Station here have been arrested on allegations of circumventing laid down procedures when clearing cattle, in a development that saw villagers losing thousands of dollars to stock thieves. The suspects have also since been hauled before a police internal disciplinary hearing to answer to charges of violating the Police Act. Police chief national spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed the incident yesterday.

“Have those police officers not yet appeared in court by now? They should have appeared in court, however, if they have not yet, they will appear soon and this is a clear sign that as police we do not condone corruption within the force,’’ said Snr Asst Comm Charamba.

She could not give further details.
Investigations by The Herald showed that the suspects were yet to appear in court.

Indications are that investigations are at an advanced stage and the cops will soon appear in court.
Police sources said the officers would be charged with criminal abuse of office.

Their dockets were yesterday said to be on the verge of completion.
Several villagers in Zaka and surrounding areas allegedly lost more than 20 beasts to con-men and stock thieves who took advantage of the laxity in the cattle clearing system by the officers at Zaka Police Station.

The sources said the 12 police constables were last week nailed for breaching the Police Act when they appeared before a police disciplinary hearing panel.

‘’They could have been charged with stock theft for abetting theft of cattle by clearing beasts without following clearly laid down regulations but it was hard to come up with tangible evidence that would be admissible in a court of law for them to be charged with stock theft hence criminal abuse of office charges,’’ said a police source.

The sources said some of the arrested police officers would clear cattle while in beer halls or at their homes.
This allowed con-men and stock thieves to take advantage of the loop hole to steal villagers’ cattle.

The matter came to light after the Masvingo Provincial Anti-Stock Theft team reportedly received a tip-off.
Investigations spearheaded by Officer Commanding Crime in Masvingo Province Assistant Commissioner Crispen Makedenge were then launched.

It is suspected the cops were cutting corners in clearing cattle and could have been financially benefiting from the arrangement.

Zaka is one of the districts hardest hit by stock-theft in Masvingo Province.

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