Zvikomborero Parafini, Court Reporter
Kwekwe resident magistrate and a clerk of court yesterday appeared before the Harare regional court charged with criminal abuse of office involving the release of a stolen car that was supposed to be used in court as an exhibit.
Story Rushambwa, 48, and Bright Mpiyabo, 45, we’re not asked to plead when they appeared before Harare regional magistrate Bianca Makwande.
Allegations are that sometime in September 2018, a white Mercedes Benz was impounded by CID Kwekwe from Shepherd Tundiya as stolen property, which was believed to have been stolen in South Africa and smuggled into Zimbabwe.
The car was handed over to ZIMRA for further management pending finalisation of investigations by the South African Police Service and possible settling of duty in terms of the Customs and Excise Act as it was smuggled into the country.
The court heard that on December 9, Tundiya made an exparte application seeking the release of the car and Rushambwa released it unconditionally to Tundiya through a court order which was prejudicial to ZIMRA and the other respondents cited in the application.
The car remains stolen property and can no longer be located yet it’s required as an exhibit.
The court also heard that in October 2019, a white Toyota Hilux was impounded from John Mapurazi after it was fraudulently imported into the country and was handed over to ZIMRA for customs management and trial in Bulawayo.
It’s alleged that the duo then connived first order the release of the vehicle and Mpiyabo held onto the record on December 31 until Rushambwa who was on leave arrived to deal with the matter.
Rushambwa presided over the matter with the applicant Mapurazi represented by Shepherd Tundiya who is not a legal practitioner and granted the release of the car.
The vehicle remains an exhibit in a criminal case in Bulawayo but it can no longer be located and is required for trial set for February 20 this year.
By their actions, the two showed favour to the applicants contrary to their duties as officers of the court.
George Manokore appeared for the State.
The duo will appear today for bail application.