Mashudu Netsianda and Michelle Gwizi, Court Reporters
A BULAWAYO police officer stationed at Fairbridge Camp allegedly ganged up with an accomplice and broke into a police canteen and several houses at the camp and stole car batteries, laptops and groceries worth more than $1 400.
Michael Mhlanga (43) an Assistant Inspector in Bulawayo and Ntando Dube (38) of Ntabazinduna on different occasions broke into the ZRP canteen and into the homes of other police officers and stole a wide range of goods.
The pair appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Mr Tinashe Tashaya facing charges of unlawful entry and theft.
They were remanded in custody to today for bail application.
Prosecuting, Mr Nkathazo Dlodlo said between January 29 and February 12 this year, the two accused persons ganged up and allegedly broke into the canteen and three houses within Fairbridge Camp and stole laptops, car batteries, beef, groceries, solar lighting kit and gas tanks all valued at $1 443.
“On January 29 at around 8PM, the complainant Ms Jacqueline Mufakose closed windows and locked the doors to the ZRP canteen before she knocked off. During the night, the two accused persons damaged the doors using an unknown object to gain entry into the canteen and stole 10kg of beef, bottles of cooking oil, bags of mealie meal and 24 tins of peanut butter all valued at $293,” said Mr Dlodlo.
On February 11 at around 10PM, another police officer Jorum Matemaringa went to bed leaving his car parked in the yard.
“During the night, Mhlanga and Dube, acting in common purpose used unknown objects to open the locked doors of the car. They opened the bonnet and stole a car battery worth $400 and fled,” said Mr Dlodlo.
During the same night, they went to Mr Setty Mambudzi’s house and stole a car battery worth $350.
On the following night, the two men pounced at Mr Lungisani Gwabi’s house and stole a car battery worth $400.
“On January 12 at night, the accused persons went to Mr Farai Gutsa’s house while he was sleeping. They broke into the house and went away with a laptop, 3kgs gas tank and solar lighting kit,” said Mr Dlodlo.
Investigations were carried out leading to the arrest of Dube who then implicated Mhlanga. Some of the stolen goods worth $810 were recovered.
Meanwhile, a police officer based at Mbembesi Police Station appeared before the same magistrate facing a robbery charge involving US$120.
Nqobani Ncube (30), a police chaplin from Nketa 7 suburb in Bulawayo, who is being represented by Mr Tinashe Runganga from Tanaka Law Chambers, was remanded out of custody to March 5 on $100 bail.
He was ordered to report at Tshabalala Police Station once a week as part of the bail conditions.
The prosecutor, Mr Leonard Chile said on February 14 this year, the complainant, Mr Sidumisile Ntini arrived at his home shortly after 10PM and he was confronted by Ncube and two other men who had alighted from a car.
The police chaplin and one of his accomplices were clad in police uniforms while the third one was wearing civilian clothes.
“The three men introduced themselves as detectives before they arrested the complainant, alleging that they spotted him picking a prostitute at a brothel situated along 15th Avenue in the central business district,” said Mr Chile.
They threatened to take the complainant to the police station before they allegedly searched him and took US$120.
Mr Ntini reported the matter to the police. On the following day, the complainant spotted Ncube in the CBD.
The complainant alerted the police who arrested Ncube but the stolen money was not recovered.