A RUSAPE senior police officer was arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission for allegedly stealing 15 beasts from a United Kingdom-based farmer who was accused of ill-treating her cattle.
Esther Doloba (48) who is an inspector in the Zimbabwe Republic Police recently appeared before Rusape magistrate, Mr Obedience Matare who remanded her out of custody to December 13 on $7 000 bail.
Doloba is jointly charged with Constable Naison Rashamira who is still at large.
Prosecutor, Mr Justice Masanganise said in 2016, the UK-based farmer, Ms Chido Matewa was reported to the police for ill-treating her 46 cattle, and Doloba who was the Officer-in-charge at ZRP Nyazura allegedly connived with Rashamira to steal 15 beasts.
“Sometime in 2016, Ms Matewa went to the United Kingdom on business, leaving 46 cattle in the custody of her employees. During her absence, a report was made to the police that the complainant had left her livestock to starve. Rashamira attended the scene and later briefed Doloba who was the officer-in-charge.
“The two hatched a plan to steal from the complainant, and they took possession of livestock books from Ms Matewa’s employees and destroyed them. They stole 15 of the 46 cattle and shared among themselves,” said Mr Masanganise.
To cover up for the offence, Doloba and Rashamira allegedly applied for a warrant to seize the cattle and took them to Zunidza Farm for safekeeping under the supervision of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
“The accused persons did not record the cattle they had taken possession of in the police exhibit book, or in any police books as is the normal practice when one seizes exhibits which is contrary to and inconsistent with their duties,” said Mr Masanganise.
Ms Matewa was advised, and on her return from the UK, she went to Nyazura Police Station.
She was charged with contravening Section 3 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, Chapter 19.09 where she was alleged to have starved 46 cattle. She was also accused of causing the death of 15 of the missing cattle.
“A warned and cautioned statement was recorded from the complainant. However, she queried about the number of the cattle involved. She requested the accused persons to accompany her to the farm and show her the carcasses of the 15 cattle they were alleging to have died, but they refused,” he said.
Mr Masanganise said Doloba threatened to jail Ms Matewa if she refused to share her remaining cattle with her.
“Instead of accompanying her, Doloba called Ms Matewa to her office, and demanded that they share the remaining cattle or risk being jailed, but Ms Matewa refused. Ms Matewa kept on querying the number of cattle involved and Rashamira called her to his office. He recorded another warned and cautioned statement, this time saying six cattle had died.
“Ms Matewa was never allowed access to her cattle, and was never told the number of cattle that were being held as exhibits. Rashamira later took Ms Matewa to court where she was tried and acquitted. Doloba and Rashamira tried to force Ms Matewa to accept 31 instead of 46 beasts. The accused persons failed to account for the discrepancy in the figures,” said Mr Masanganise.
He added: “The actions of the accused persons of failing to record the cattle in the exhibit book or in any official books were contrary to or inconsistent with their duties as public officers. At the time, the stolen cattle were valued at $180 000 and nothing was recovered.”