Harare Man Drags Police Chief To Court Over Seizure Of His Mercedes Benz

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

A HARARE man, Panashe Elisha Mandimutsira has dragged the Police Commissioner-General, Godwin Matanga to the High Court, over the seizure of his Mercedes Benz C180 vehicle by the cops.

In January 2020, the complainant had lent the vehicle to Milton Murairwa, a police officer stationed at the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Support Unit, Chikurubi, Harare.

Mandimutsira and Muraiwa are friends.

According to court papers, Murairwa borrowed the car for a week for undisclosed personal use. However, he fell on the wrong side of the law while driving the vehicle and was arrested and the vehicle was seized by the police.

Efforts for the vehicle to be released have failed.

As a result, Mandimutsa is seeking a court order compelling Matanga to release and return his vehicle without delay as the seizure was ‘unlawful and wrongful’.

“On January 30, 2020, the first respondent (Matanga) arrested the third respondent (Murairwa) who is a police officer on the allegations that he failed to execute his duties properly and in the process of his arrest seized my vehicle which the third respondent was using at the time,” the court papers read.

“I confronted the third respondent so that I could take back my vehicle, but he told me that the first respondent’s officers refused to release the vehicle and no reasons were given except that I will collect the vehicle after his matter is completed by their court in terms of the Police Act.

“When my vehicle was seized by the first respondent’s officers, I was not issued with the seizure form as per the dictates of the law and no reason was advanced to me after I went to the officer-in-charge for CID Homicide which had seized my vehicle.

“It is now close to two years after my vehicle was seized by the first respondent before it could be released to me. At one point, I was told to bring an affidavit so that I could collect my vehicle and I did…but the first respondent refused to release it and insisted that I needed to wait for the third respondent’s case to be cleared by the police tribunal.”

According to court papers, Murairwa is facing two counts of performing his duties in an improper manner and acting in an unbecoming manner likely to bring discredit to the police service.

He is alleged to have assaulted two occupants at a Waterfalls home in Harare for failing to open the gate for him and also abusing his authority by demanding US$20 000 from the complainants.

The Waterfalls complainants were found in illegal possession of 27 tonnes of fertiliser meant for the government’s Command Agriculture programme.

He was given US$12 000 as bribe money.

“To be honest, I do not know how the police tribunal will assist me to get my vehicle and why the first respondent links my vehicle to the police tribunal. My vehicle did not commit any offence, and there is no justification why it should be held by the first respondent’s officers,” Mandimutsira argued.

“I have no doubt that the first respondent unlawfully seized my vehicle from me and unlawfully impounded same.”