A police officer based at Plumtree police station who was convicted of failing to comply with the Immigration Act after he gained entry into Zimbabwe from Botswana through an illegal entry point has been fined $200.
Sidingumuzi Ncube (37) is also 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 Samp Mlaudzi and Partners, Ncube was acquitted of the former charge.
In defence to the charge of entry by evasion, Mpofu had told the court that Ncube received a call from his station informing him that his application to leave the district had been denied.
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,” he said.
Magistrate Tashaya said the State had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Ncube indeed had entered Zimbabwe from Botswana without adhering to the Immigration Act.
Tashaya said although the State had argued that Ncube had to be incarcerated because he is an enforcer of the law who should have known better than to break the law, the offence committed did not warrant a jail term.
“As stated by the accused person’s (Ncube) lawyer in mitigation, the court has to take into consideration that the accused person is a first offender and a family man with four minor children.
“The court must also consider that he has already spent six months in custody while undergoing trial. The accused person is hereby sentenced to pay a fine of ZW$200 by August 30 failure of which he would be incarcerated for 60 days,” said magistrate Tashaya.
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 Khumbulani Ndlovu 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 Ndlovu.