5 cops nabbed for aiding smuggling of lithium ore to SA

Five police officers in Bulawayo have been arrested after they allegedly connived to release a consignment of 250 tonnes of lithium ore destined for South Africa that had been intercepted by the police.

The five, Milton Ronald Mathe (27), Nkatazo Siambisi Mudenda (34), Sendra Zenda (29), Chiedza Mutakiwa (29) all of ZRP Mzilikazi and Detective Assistant Inspector Tawanda Shonhiwa (39)  of CID Minerals Flora and Fauna Unit, Bulawayo, are being charged with contravening section 174(1) of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act Chapter 9:23 “Criminal abuse of duty as a public officer”.

Constables Mathe, Mudenda, Zenda and Mutekiwa have since appeared in court and were granted ZWL40 000 bail each. They are expected back in court on 31 January.

Detective Assistant Inspector Shonhiwa who was arrested on 3 January, is currently detained at the Bulawayo Central Police station.

Police investigations revealed that the consignment belonged to one Bernard Mnangagwa.

The consignment was then put under police guard at the Steeldale premises while investigations continued.

“During the period between 21 December 2022 to 23 December 2022, Bernard Mnangagwa went to the premises and loaded five truckloads of lithium bearing ores in the presence of the four accused police officers who were on guard duties. The Lithium bearing ores were destined for export to South Africa,” said police sources.

“The five trucks were intercepted at Beitbridge Border Post and investigations were carried out leading to the arrest of Bernard Mnangagwa on 30 December 2022. The lithium bearing ores were recovered.”

Mnangagwa is yet to appear in court.

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