By Mary Taruvinga
KWEKWE resident magistrate, Story Rushambwa and a clerk of court, Bright Mpiyabo have been hauled before Harare magistrate, Bianca Makwande facing criminal abuse of office charges after they allegedly released a car that was being held as an exhibit.
They were released on $2 000 bail each coupled with reporting conditions.
It is state’s case that the car in question was supposed to be used as an exhibit in court since it was purportedly stolen in South Africa before it was smuggled to Zimbabwe.
According to court papers, sometime in September 2018, a white Mercedes Benz was impounded by CID Kwekwe from Shepherd Tundiya as stolen property.
“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,” said prosecutor George Manokore.
He added, “On December 9, Tundiya made an ex parte 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.”
Manokore said the car remains stolen property and can no longer be located yet it’s still required as an exhibit.
It is also alleged that in October 2019, a white Toyota Hilux was impounded from John Mapurazi after it was fraudulently imported into the country.
It was handed over to ZIMRA for customs management and trial in Bulawayo.
It’s alleged that the duo then connived to release the vehicle.
Mpiyabo held onto the record on December 31 until Rushambwa who was on leave arrived to deal with the matter, it is alleged.
Rushambwa presided over the matter with the applicant Mapurazi represented by Tundiya who is not a legal practitioner and granted the release of the car.