By James Muonwa l Mashonaland West Correspondent
TWO female Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers stationed at Chinhoyi Central on Thursday appeared in court following their arrest for allegedly extorting Platinum FM radio presenter, Thandeka Hilda Chitombo facing charges of impersonation.
Chitombo (30), also known as Ms Ndeka-T, was arrested last week for masquerading as a Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operative and is currently languishing in remand prison after her bid to get bail failed.
In a twist of events, the two arresting officers, Constables Theoline Mapako (35) and Gracious Hove (33) were arrested on Wednesday around 4pm for criminal abuse of office as defined in Section 174 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.
Circumstances are that on February 2 this year, the duo arrested and detained the radio personality on charges of impersonating a CIO agent.
Court heard that on the next day around 8am accused persons took Chitombo to the investigations office where they threatened her that she will rot in jail unless she paid US$100 so that they would not oppose bail when the matter appeared in court.
Chitombo is said to have pleaded with the duo to accept US$32 saying this was the only cash which was held at the police Charge Office.
Accused persons told Chitombo that they had already talked to her father, Luxmore Chitombo, who said he had another US$50.
The cops led Chitombo to the Charge Office where she was handed her belongings, including cash, and released for court. At this juncture she was given US$50 by her father.
The police officers took Chitombo to the toilet at the station where she handed them US$80, before they escorted her to Chinhoyi Magistrates Court where she was unfortunately remanded in custody at Chinhoyi Prison.
Following the failed freedom bid, Chitombo exposed the officers whom she allegedly gave US$80 bribe money on the pretext they would consent to bail and result in her release.
The pair, which is being represented by lawyer Fortune Murisei, will be back at court today, February 9, for bail ruling.
Meanwhile, this Thursday Chinhoyi Magistrate Archie Wochiwunga postponed bail ruling in Chitombo’s matter to February 13.
The State alleges that sometime in October 2023, Chitombo went to Platinum FM, a Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers) Private Limited subsidiary, and got access through some unnamed employees from the programming department.
She met complainant, who is the station manager, Davies Mugadza, and pledged to be a volunteer presenter broadcasting during weekends.
Chitombo was auditioned by a team from the programming department and she passed the test, before embarking on a three-months training stint.
According to the State, during the first week of January 2024, Chitombo was assigned to deliver weekend show, The Sunday Chill Out from 3pm-6pm, as an on-air presenter.
During her training period, around November last year, she presented her credentials to Mugadza and narrated that she was deployed from the President’s Office.
In a bid to authenticate her claim, Chitombo produced an identity card purporting to be a member of the CIO assigned at the radio station on an intelligence mission.
Complainant contacted the President’s Office in Chinhoyi enquiring about Chitombo and the department promised to do background checks on the accused person.
It is further alleged on February 1 this year, the President’s department disowned Chitombo resulting in accusations of impersonation.
She was subsequently arrested while in possession of the ‘fake’ CIO identity card, which will be produced in court as evidence.
When police proceeded to Chitombo’s residence in Ruvimbo Phase 1, Chinhoyi, they recovered two fake Zanu PF party cards purporting she was a Central Committee member for Mashonaland West and Central provinces.