By Midlands Correspondent
Gweru, August 02, 2016 – THREE Kwekwe senior police officers are in trouble with the law after they were found operating a gold mine as a private business in contravention of the Police Act.
The law compels serving police officers operating private businesses to declare their interest to the Commissioner General of the Police.
For the offence, Superintendents Temba Mpofu, Tambudzai Muchineuta and Batsirai Mungwa from Kwekwe appeared before provincial magistrate, Pathekile Msipa on charges of contravening a section of the Police Act.
They are being accused of operating the private venture “without the approval of the Commissioner General of the Police, carrying on any business trade, occupation or business either directly or through the agency of any other person”.
Prosecuting, Munyaradzi Guveya told the court that between December last year and February 19 at Bell 3 Kwekwe, Consolidated Gold Mines the accused, “one or more of them unlawfully engaged in gold mining activities without the approval of Commissioner General of Police Augustine Chihuri”.
But in their defence outline, they said they at one time entered into a contract for mining but lacked capacity to enter into the business venture.
“Accused person two (Mpofu), three (Muchineuta) and four (Mungwa) did not conduct any business because even though they entered into a contract for mining they had no capacity.
“Because they had no equipment and money required, they could not seek authority for business venture they were unable to embark on,” reads part of their defence outline.
The three were initially charged with one Chief Superintendent Fiona Hlomani, who however had his charges withdrawn before plea.
The accused trio opted to be tried in a civilian court as opposed to a trial within the internal disciplinary processes of the police.
Most police officers caught up in similar acts usually prefer standing before magistrates from the Judicial Service Commission instead of police disciplinary committees for fear of not receiving fair trials.
The three senior cops are being represented by Tonderai Chitere of Chitere and Chidawanyika and Partners.
The trio will be back in court on August 11 when they intend to bring their defence witnesses for the defence case.