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By Robert Tapfumaneyi
EMBATTLED former Police Commissioner General, Augustine Chihuri has been sucked into an alleged vehicle auction sale scandal.
The now exiled ex-police boss is reportedly having aided former officer-in-charge Vusumuzi Ncube to award himself two luxury vehicles through a ‘staged’ car auction.
This was revealed in opposing papers filed by Assistant Commissioner Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Chrispen Charumbira, Commissioner General Godwin Matanga and Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe after being sued by the former senior police officer, Ncube.
Ncube filed an application at the High Court seeking an order for the seizure of the said vehicles by the police, which are now being held as exhibits, to be declared unlawful.
In their responses, Charumbira and Matanga claimed Ncube used his influence as officer in charge of Transport and in connivance with former police boss Chihuri to allocate himself the cars.
They claimed that Ncube was responsible for maintenance of records of all recovered vehicles subject to disposal, receipt of all purchased, donated and forfeited vehicles.
“Using his privileged position and in connivance with Chihuri and Robert Tendero Masukusa simply allocated himself the State vehicles which he converted to his own use without paying any value for the two vehicles,” read Charumbira’s affidavit which was later withdrawn with costs.
“Applicant never attended any auction viewing as the vehicles were at his workplace.
“The registration of the vehicles does not confer title to the applicant as the property belongs to ZRP.”
According to Ncube, sometime in January 2015, the ZRP auctioned cars at their Craneborne Workshop in Harare and Ncube purchased a Land Rover Freelander and Mazda Capella.
On May 29, 2018, Ncube was called by an officer from Charumbira’s office to bring the cars to CID headquarters claiming there were details to be verified.
The Mazda Capella was in Bulawayo and was delivered to the CID offices there while the Land Rover was taken to the Harare office where they were subsequently seized, respectively.
Ncube claims that when he made efforts to recover his cars, the police told him that they were being held as exhibits in cases of theft and criminal abuse of office.
“I have waited until this date but there had been no communication from the respondents regarding the two vehicles or the progress of the alleged cases of theft and criminal abuse of office in terms of which the vehicles are being held as exhibits,” Ncube said.
“The continued seizure of the vehicles has caused immeasurable prejudice on my part and my family as well as deterioration of the vehicles as I have a physically challenged child who constantly needs physiotherapy medical attention.”
Ncube said Charumbira and Matanga ought to have affirmed him in writing that investigations relating to the case which had caused his cars to be seized were actively being pursued without undue delay.
He argued that since he was not issued with a notice of continued retention after expiry of the prescribed 21 days and no prosecution is initiated he had lawful right to recover the cars from police.