By Staff Reporter
A SENIOR police officer has been accused of conniving with a high ranking army officer to block the latter’s eviction from some business premises in Murombedzi.
For demanding his dues and instituting the eviction measures, property owner, Lucky Timothy Mubaiwa (63) also claims he has been subjected to arbitrary arrests often on trumped-up charges at the behest of the top soldier.
Mubaiwa is owed US$5 000 in terms of rent arrears by Joseph Josphat Kudumba, believed to be an army Brigadier-General stationed at One Commando in Harare.
Kudumba is allegedly bribing Murombedzi police station’s Officer-In-Charge (OIC), one Inspector Makoni who has allegedly tormented the elderly businessman.
Mubaiwa has since written a letter of complaint against Makoni calling on the latter’s superiors to institute investigations over suspected bribe-taking and incompetence.
Reads part of the letter of complaint seen by NewZimbabwe.com, “I, L.T Mubaiwa, wants to lodge a complaint against OIC Makoni of Murombedzi police station.
“Twice, l have been arrested and dockets found by the magistrate to be incomplete/not fully done.
“His incompetence and inefficiencies have made me suffer financially and emotionally. I have reason to believe he is receiving bribes from Josphat Kudumba, who is illegally occupying my bottle store.”
The building owner also alleges the investigating officer, one Mutambanengwe is incompetent while accusing the OIC of taking instructions from the top gunner whom he allegedly shields from arrest for violating the law.
Added Mubaiwa, “I want you to make investigations on Inspector Makoni because each time he receives a phone call from Kudumba, he comes straight to my premises trying to arrest me.
“During lockdown, Inspector Makoni allowed Kudumba to operate and sell beer, even without a liquor licence and health inspection (certificates).”
The Brigadier-General is involved in a nasty fight with his landlord who has been trying to evict him from the premises he has occupied for the past five years without paying rentals.
The building under dispute, popularly known as Beer Engine situated at Uzande business centre in Murombedzi, Zvimba, was constructed in 1998 comprising a supermarket, nightclub, bottle store and nine booking rooms.
A fortnight ago, Mubaiwa was dragged to Chinhoyi Magistrate’s Court facing charges of violating a court order barring him from interfering with Kudumba’s operations.
The matter failed to kick off after the prosecution referred it back to Murombedzi police station for further investigations.
The court ruling in question was granted on 25 June 2020 after the top soldier approached the courts following attempts by Mubaiwa to lock him out of the premises for failing to pay monthly rentals, which to date, have reportedly accumulated to US$5 000.
The court ordered Mubaiwa, who had also cut electricity to the building, to allow Kudumba access to the property as well as reconnect power.
Since then, the two parties have been at loggerheads and have become regular visitors to the courts of law.
Jeremiah Bhamu of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), who is representing Mubaiwa, said the senior army officer was abusing his authority by instructing law enforcement agents to arbitrarily arrest and harass his client on dubious charges.
Police officers from Murombedzi have allegedly been visiting the premises regularly and harassing Mubaiwa purportedly at Kudumba’s behest.
There is a pending High Court case (HC663/19) in which Kudumba is challenging his eviction for refusal or failure to pay rent.
The matter has been set down for 14 May 2021 before Justice Jester Charewa for a pre-trial conference.
Kudumba is not new to controversy.
He has been linked to the questionable deployment of AK47-wielding soldiers into a conservancy in Mwenezi where the gunners wreaked havoc and damaged property.