Chitungwiza mayor freed

HARARE - Chitungwiza magistrate Lazarus Murendo yesterday rapped the police when he released  the town’s mayor Phillip Mutoti and councillor Darlington Musonza, who  are jointly accused of criminal abuse of office.

The accused faced charges of illegally issuing a stand in Zengeza.

“Having considered the submissions of the State and those of the lawyers, police should not first arrest to investigate,” magistrate Murendo said.

“The court should be firm and ensure that the police carry out their duties diligently not  to just rush to arrest. The reason being proffered by the police about the unavailabilty of the town clerk from the 25th of October since the trial started shows a lack of seriousness on the police as such a person can always be contacted even when on leave.”

Marufu Mandevere of Kadzere, Hungwe and Mandevere Legal Practitioners appearing for the accused, had opposed the application by the State for continuance of the matter on the basis that “the police should not arrest citizens for the purposes of carrying out an investigation.”

Magistrate Murendo said the State must put its house in order first and when they have gathered evidence against Mutoti, they proceed by way of summons.

Mutoti has been arrested twice since becoming mayor in what he views as spurious charges orchestrated by sitting  and former councillors with vested interests in the land allocation scams around Chitungwiza.

Last month, Matthew Kamurai, a Chitungwiza municipal policeman and Zanu PF member, was fined $100 after pleading guilty to perjury.

The St Mary’s resident had reported to the police that Mutoti had assaulted him, and caused the mayor’s arrest.

However, police investigations established that Mutoti was not present when Kamurayi was assaulted, leading to Kamurayi’s arrest for deliberately supplying false information to the public authority.

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