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Gold theft: Cop charged for border jumping

A police officer based at Plumtree police station has been convicted for failing to comply with the Immigration Act after he gained entry into Zimbabwe from Botswana through an illegal entry point.

Sidingumuzi Ncube (37) is an alleged accomplice in a case being heard before the Bulawayo High Court involving the alleged theft of 28 kilograms of gold worth almost $1 million which was being kept at Plumtree police station.

Ncube was arraigned before Bulawayo Provincial magistrate Tinashe Tashaya facing charges of attempting to obstruct the course of justice and entry by evasion.

Through his legal representative, Maqhawe Mpofu of Mlaudzi and Partners, Ncube was acquitted of the former charge.

In defence to the charge of entry by evasion, Mpofu told the court that Ncube received a call from his station informing him that his application to leave the district had been denied.

He (Mpofu) said Ncube hastily disembarked from the train he was on but could not find the immigration officer who had stamped his passport initially.

“My client was in fear of falling foul of the Police Act and Standing Orders that was why he discontinued his journey. He was in a rush to go and engage with the Officer in Charge at Plumtree police station to find out why his application had been dismissed since he still intended to travel,” said Mpofu.

Magistrate Tashaya remanded Ncube in custody to tomorrow for sentencing.

According to the State, on July 7 2018, Ncube boarded a Botswana-bound train and he had his passport stamped at the Plumtree border post but there is no documentation to show how he got back into Zimbabwe.

State representative Memory Matare told the court there were no corresponding endorsements to show that he (Ncube) complied with the formalities in terms of the Immigration Act when he exited Botswana back into Zimbabwe.

Allegations which Ncube was acquitted from, as presented by Matare were that on November 4 he approached Vusumuzi Sayi who is stationed at Gwanda passport Office intending to persuade him to change the statement he had initially given to the police.

“Ncube attempted to bribe Sayi to change his original statement he had given to the police and give testimony in his favour whenever he was subpoenaed as a witness before the courts,” said Matare.

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