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FIVE police officers armed with knives allegedly raided the home of a State witness in a bribery case and beat him up in an effort to stop him from testifying against them in court.
The cops, a court heard yesterday, threatened to kill Mr Claudius Chauke during the mafia-style attack at midnight. They allegedly told him that they were members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
The cops allegedly advised Mr Chauke that it would be good for his well being if he kept away from the witness box. Although he insisted all five were policemen, only Malvin Ndlovu (36) an assistant inspector, admitted he was a police officer in court.
The other four members of the terror gang — who were not named in court and are still at large — were said to be civilians.
Ndlovu appeared before Western Commonage magistrate Mr Stephen Ndlovu charged with extortion and criminal abuse of office.
He appeared alongside an accomplice, another police officer, Trymore Gore (34) who allegedly demanded a bribe together with Ndlovu from Mr Chauke but did not go to threaten the witness at his home.
The magistrate remanded Gore out of custody. Ndlovu had been initially remanded out of custody as well but his conditions were altered after the State proved that he had interfered with State witnesses. The magistrate remanded him in custody to October 6.
Mr Chauke failed to appear in court at an initial trial date after the alleged midnight attack by the five-man gang. He was later summoned to court and revealed that he could not come to court as he feared for his life.
“They came to my house at night and told me that they were from the President’s Office,” said Mr Chauke.
“They threatened to kill me if I testified against them in this court. They said they would slit my throat if I ever set foot in this court. Accused 1 (Ndlovu), held me by the collar and assaulted me with open hands.
“I had to leave my home and go to stay at my place of work at a mine in Inyathi. I promised them that I would not come to court, Your Worship, and I had to keep my word because I was afraid. That’s why I did not come to court.”
The State, led by Mr Busani Moyo alleges that on June 11 this year at Cowdray Park police station, Ndlovu and Gore arrested Mr Chauke for malicious damage to property.
Mr Moyo said: “Chauke’s former girlfriend had teamed up with friends to assault him, and they proceeded to the police first to file a report against him. When Chauke arrived at the station to file his own report, he was subsequently arrested by Assistant Inspector Ndlovu and Constable Trymore Gore.”
The court heard that the accused persons told Mr Chauke they were going to detain him in the cells until Monday since it was a Friday and refused to take his report.
“The accused persons then demanded $150 from the complainant to release him to go and seek medical attention as he had been assaulted earlier during the day. Chauke handed $100 to Ndlovu and $50 to Gore. He was then released on the same day,” said Mr Moyo.
It is the state’s case that Mr Chauke later filed a report against the two cops.
“While investigations were in progress, the officers allegedly reimbursed him and drafted a withdrawal affidavit statement for an illiterate Chauke so that he could withdraw the complaint,” said the prosecutor.
The affidavit was commissioned and he tendered it to the police.— By Andile_Tshuma. source-chronicle