News / Regional

Chombo bullies cops to release detained council officer

by Divine Dube
01 Feb 2013 at 07:05hrs | 4214 Views
LOCAL Government, Rural and Urban Development minister Ignatious Chombo has been fingered in interfering with the cause of justice by telling police officers in Tsholotsho to release a fraud suspect.

According to well placed police sources, Chombo bullied the law enforcement agents to release Tsholotsho Rural District Council Chief Executive Officer Themba Moyo.

Moyo was arrested sometime last year on allegations of fraudulently withdrawing council funds amounting to US$15 000 alone at the bank.

In terms of council procedure and rules, cash withdrawals can only be made when a withdrawal bank slip is signed by three signatories.

However, Moyo connived with an unnamed bank teller and managed to withdraw council funds alone.

The scam came to light after two weeks and council officials called a meeting in which Moyo was summoned to attend.

"At the meeting, Moyo confessed that he went to the bank alone and arranged to get the funds. He was advised that, what he did was an offense and thus must in compliance with council rules be reported to the police," said a source.

Police are said to have apprehended Moyo at his council offices and took him to their station where a docket was opened.

Before taking Moyo to court and after finishing the docket, Chombo is alleged to have phoned the station superiors and demanded the immediate release of Moyo on the grounds that he was wrongly arrested and detained.

Moyo faced a count of fraud and another of abuse of authority. His case, sources say, has now been sent to Chombo's office.

Chombo has allegedly said Moyo will only be arrested after an audit of all council books is finished, on a date that his office has not made known.

"Minister Chombo said the matter was an administrative council error and not in any way criminal to merit the arrest and detention of the CEO, he was fuming and threatened to fix those behind the arrest of Moyo," said another police source.

Moyo was then clandestinely released from police custody at the behest of Chombo's interference.

The source added that: "It is sad that as police officers we do our investigations and make arrests and chefs come and undo our job," he said.

A councillor who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation complained about Chombo's conduct arguing that it undermines the council's authority and amounts to defeating the smooth delivery of justice.

"What Minister Chombo did about the Moyo case is so bad, it shows that he does not respect councillors and the committee that sat and found Moyo wrong. He does not respect the work of police," said the councillor.

 Contacted for comment on Monday this week, Police Spokesperson for Matabeleland North Province Inspector Billie Dube said his office was not aware of the arrest of one Themba Moyo and his subsequent release from police custody but admitted that a report concerning an alleged fraud case at Tsholotsho RDC was reported informal to Tsholotsho police station where the complainants sought advice from police officers on how to handle the matter.

"From what i heard, the matter which you are talking about was never reported formal to Tsholotsho Police Station but i understand complainants who brought the matter to the police about a fraud case in Tsholotsho Rural District Council only wanted advice on how the matter was to be handled and never returned to make a formal report", he said.

Moyo could not be drawn into commenting about the matter as his mobile number could not be reachable.

Contacted for comment this week, Chombo refuted the allegations against him though he said he was unsure about what is "new in his office" regarding Tsholotsho Rural District Council.

"How could I phone police? I am not the Minister of Home Affairs and have never phoned police and told them to release anyone. Which police officer said I phoned him? He fumed.

When asked about which Tsholotsho RDC matters are pending on before him, he replied: "I am not sure what is new. I have been out of office and even though, I don't think there is anything like that," he said.

Surprisingly, the minister admitted that there are a lot of audit reports that he must go through and the Tsholotsho report, if any, is "not anything to write about."

Chombo has in the past made headlines for interfering with the day to day running(s) of several councils. He has fired officials that have refused to adhere to his demands.

Several allegations of corruption have been levelled against him and he has always disputed any wrongdoing. 

Source - Byo24News
More on: Chombo, Detained

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