MASVINGO-Police officers who arrested Detective Takesure Buzu and his accomplice, Rumbidzai Takawira for illegally dealing in copper have told the court that the accused offered them US$2 000 to conceal the matter.
The arresting details are key state witnesses who testified on January 16 and 17 during the ongoing trial.
Buzu and Takawira were arrested on August 17, 2022 after they were both caught in possession of burnt copper and TelOne wires in Rhodene loaded into the boot of the cop’s car.
The loot weighed 165kg of copper wires valued at US$3 300 and 10kg TelOne cables valued at US$110.
Giving testimony in court on January 16, Inspector Paul Chale, the first state witness who was the arresting officer narrated how the accused police officer was willing to pay US$2 000 to avert arrest.
He also added that his accomplice Takawira pleaded with them on Buzu’s behalf saying they should accept the money as a way to protect Buzu’s job and family.
“When we arrived at the said address Buzu approached us while we were still at the gate.
“At first, he did not give us a chance to speak or tell him why we had come but he started off by pleading with us to save his job.
“We then told him why we had come as we walked towards his car which was parked facing the gate.
“We arrived at his car and asked him to open his boot, for some time he refused. It was then that I noticed that it was slightly open due to the load which was inside.
“When I opened the boot, I saw five sacks, three white and two green. All along he never said anything about being at work, but kept on begging us to accept US$2000 so that his job can be saved.
“His arrest was not easy at all to an extent that we had to call our superiors so that they could assist us.
“Even then in front of them he did not hesitate to negotiate the bribe, the reason why we did not arrest him for the bribe is that he did not handover the cash,” said Chale.
Inspector Chale’s account was collaborated by Inspector Garatsa who was also part of the arresting detail and said that Buzu even suggested that they transfer the copper wires into Takawira’s car.
“If the accused is saying that he was carrying out his duties as a police officer, he is totally lying before this honourable court because he was on leave. A police officer on leave can only be called back to work via a radio signal.
“We have over 120 CID officers that were at work on that day, who would have accompanied him to the scene because it is unheard of that a police officer would go to the scene under those circumstances alone.
“Besides there are procedures to follow when collecting evidence. It is done in presence of experts related to that case and even photographers but in this case, the accused was with his accomplice who is not a police officer and they had already loaded the copper into his car,”
“During that time when he was trying to bribe us, he even suggested that we call someone to bring Takawira’s car so that they can put the evidence into her car.
“He said this would save his job. He even approached me personally so that I can negotiate with my other colleagues on his behalf to accept the bribe since before the arrest we used to work together on different assignments and we were close,” said Garatsa.
In their defense Buzu’s legal representative Tafadzwa Mbwachena and Phillip Tanaka Shumba however ignored the two’s testimonies and argued that their client never offered a bribe.
Instead, they raised concerns on the number of sacks which were produced in court as evidence.
“The original sacks were five and had specific colors but now we are dealing with six. They are now in different colors and there is an extra bag of cement.
“I do not know whether we are still working with the same evidence,” Advocate Shumba said in court
The matter was adjourned to 25 January for continuation of trial.