Prosper Dembedza Court Correspondent
FORMER Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri reportedly stole number plates of a broken down Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Mercedes Benz which he used to fraudulently get the State to service his personal vehicles, a court heard.
Chihuri’s alleged shenanigans were revealed by Detective Assistant Inspector Thomas Mabgwe while testifying in a matter in which a former police officer, Senior Assistant Commissioner Robert Tendero Masukusa (47), is facing charges of using State funds to repair his personal car.
Det Asst Insp Mabgwe told the court that Masukusa was in the habit of having his personal vehicles fixed at various garages using police funds.
He said they discovered that Chihuri was also using the police account to service his Mercedes Benz after they requested a print out from Zimoco while investigating Masukusa’s case.
“We discovered that there was a certain vehicle which was being fixed at (Zimoco’s) garage which had the same number plates with that of a police vehicle that was under breakdown and had been long parked in Chitungwiza,” he said.
Det Asst Insp Mabgwe said he proceeded to Chitungwiza and discovered that the vehicle in question was parked and had never been moved. He further stated that the chassis number of the vehicle which was being serviced at Zimoco was totally different from the one parked in Chitungwiza.
“We discovered that the same number plate was also being used on several occasions to fix vehicles belonging to Chihuri,” he said. Det Asst Insp Mabgwe told the court that it was unlawful for Masukusa to service his private vehicle using the police account.
He further stated that Masukusa intentionally committed the offence since he was the Chief Staff Officer in charge of the Transport and Logistics Department.
“As a result of that misrepresentation, Zimoco fixed Masukusa’s car under the ZRP account, thereby prejudicing the organisation,” said Det Asst Insp Mabgwe.
Harare magistrate Mrs Rumbidzai Mugwagwa deferred the matter to July 5 for trial continuation. Prosecutor Francesca Mukumbiri alleges that Masukusa used over US$7 000 after he took his car for servicing at Isoquant Investments Trading as Zimoco under the guise that the car belonged to the ZRP. It is alleged that he committed the offence between 2015 and 2016.
According to the State, Masukusa bought the car, an ML 320 Mercedes Benz, at an auction carried out on behalf of ZRP by KM Auctions on January 17, 2015.
He reportedly deceived Zimoco by claiming his vehicle belonged to the police. Acting upon the misrepresentation, Zimoco renewed rear shocks on Masukusa’s vehicle, right rear driveshaft, brake pads and camber strut.
Full wheel alignment services were also done to the vehicle, among other repairs.