Fungai Lupande, Court Reporter
POLICE spokeswoman Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba yesterday appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court to testify against her subordinate who allegedly called her an “idiot” on a Whatsapp group.
However, the presiding magistrate, Ms Nomsa Sabarauta, postponed the matter to October 18, citing an overwhelming workload at the court. On September 20, the matter was removed from remand after Snr Ass Comm Charamba, who was busy attending to national duty, failed to turn up at court.
The accused, James Mabasa (38), is facing charges of defeating the course of justice and contravening the Telecommunication Act by “sending offensive messages over the phone.”
The court heard that the complainant, Snr Ass Comm Charamba, is the police national spokeswoman and heads the press and public relations department.
Mabasa, who is on suspension, was based at the Police General Headquarters (PGHQ) traffic section.
Prosecuting, Mr Oscar Madhume alleged that on May 15 this year detectives from CID Homicide, Harare, received a Whatsapp message denigrating the press department and Snr Ass Comm Charamba.
It is alleged that one of the messages sent through mobile number 0772 859 434 on April 16 this year read: “The police used to hold meetings with magistrates and other law enforcement stakeholders to map a way of reducing lawlessness but now it’s the other way round. “The public has meetings with lawyers on ways to disregard the police. The public relations office is headed by an idiot who does not know that she has to encourage the public to be compliant to the police.”
Investigations revealed that the number belonged to Mabasa.
He was arrested and a Techno tablet and Astro cellphone were recovered. The mobile phone was searched and the denigrating message he sent was found.
It is alleged that while being questioned Mabasa grabbed the Techno tablet and smashed it to the ground, shattering its screen.