A POLICE officer rescued a colleague from the clutches of an angry mob and later “robbed” him of his cellphone worth $500, a court heard on Friday. Misheck Kunyongana, 31, based at Bulawayo’s Luveve police station, allegedly robbed Moffat Ncube who was on foot patrol at Nhliziyo Bottle Store in Entumbane suburb on August 30.
Kunyongana pleaded not guilty to robbery when he appeared before Western Commonage magistrate Sibongile Msipa. He denied robbing Ncube in front of civilians. “I’ve been in the police force for 10 years. I’m aware of the consequences of assaulting a uniformed police officer. I wouldn’t risk tarnishing my image and risk losing my job over a cellphone,” Kunyongana said.
He was initially arrested for assaulting a police officer but the charges were amended to robbery at the insistence of a public prosecutor. The magistrate rolled the matter over to this week to allow the state to access the detention book to prove that Kunyongana was initially charged with assault.
Ncube took to the stand and told the court that he was on foot patrol when he arrested a Kombi driver for parking his vehicle in the middle of the road.
He said one of the touts became angry and started assaulting him. “I got into my vehicle and drove off. The crowd which had gathered blocked my vehicle and it slid into a ditch,” Ncube said.
He said the crowd assaulted him until Kunyongana helped him to escape into a nearby house.
During cross examination, Ncube kept changing his statements. Initially, he told the court that he fled from the touts in his vehicle with the Kombi driver inside but changed his statement when it was pointed out to him that this was unprocedural. “You drove the suspect in your private vehicle when the Police Act states otherwise?” asked Kunyongana who was representing himself, to which Ncube replied: “I was on foot patrol and had left my vehicle at Entumbane Shopping complex.”
He later said he took the driver with him from Nhliziyo to Entumbane complex to collect his private vehicle.
Ncube said he later took the driver to the police station but when Kunyongana cornered him, he conceded that he released the driver and did not take him to the station.