Fungai Lupande Harare Bureau—
A POLICE officer shot a colleague guarding Macro Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister Obert Mpofu’s Harare home, before attempting an elaborate cover up, a court heard yesterday. Constable Lloyd Salobe, 29, had planned to see his girlfriend — a maid at Minister Mpofu’s house — when he suddenly shot Constable Hazel Mutasa in the abdomen with an AK47 rifle, Harare magistrate Fadzai Mtombeni heard.
Mutasa was hospitalised and made a full recovery following what prosecutors say was a senseless crime by Salobe, who had arrived at Mpofu’s Gunhill home on Strakker Avenue at around 2AM after abandoning his own station nearby on Walmer Street in Highlands where he was on guard duties at Justice Lavender Makoni’s home.
Ressy Nyamombe, for the prosecution, said Mutasa and Salobe — both officers from the Police Protection Unit — had been together hours earlier during a parade at Harare Central Police Station, following which they were deployed on guard duties.
At around 10PM on October 30 last year, Salobe allegedly called his girlfriend informing her that he was coming over. The court heard that at around 2AM the next day, Mutasa heard a knock at the guard room and asked for the day’s password.
Salobe gave a correct password and Mutasa opened the gate. It is alleged that Mutasa was surprised to see that the visitor was putting on a face mask and armed with an AK47 rifle.
“Salobe ordered Mutasa to follow his orders and she dropped her gun and surrendered. He kicked Mutasa and she fell to the ground and a scuffle ensued. Trying to free herself, Mutasa crawled towards the house intending to alert the residents,” said prosecutor, Nyamombe.
It is alleged that Salobe then shot Mutasa on the left side of her abdomen. Thinking that she was dead, Salobe scaled the precast wall and fled to his work station.
“To cover up his tracks, Salobe tore his uniform and scratched his face, stomach and chest using some thorns. At his work station, he started crying calling for help. He told residents at his work station that he was attacked and the assailant stole his firearm and police uniform. He added that the assailant returned the firearm minutes later with two rounds of ammunition missing,” Nyamombe told court.
Investigations revealed that Salobe was making a false report, the prosecution charges. Investigations into Mutasa’s case also revealed that the spent cartridge at the crime scene matched Salobe’s service rifle.
Nyamombe says they will also show that a forensic examination on Salobe’s hands to test for gunshot residue tested positive. The face mask was recovered at Salobe’s station. Mutasa suffered lacerations on her buttocks and lower abdomen.
The minister and the judge were not in any danger during the two incidents. Salobe was remanded in custody and his trial will start on March 22.