Four police officers in Zimbabwe have been arrested and charged with criminal abuse of duty as public officers, after they allegedly aided a man named Bernard Tafadzwa Mnangagwa in the illegal removal of 84 tons of confiscated lithium ore. The ore was being held in state custody in Bulawayo while investigations were ongoing.
According to court papers, the officers – Milton Ronald Mathe, Nkathazo Siambizi Mudenda, Sendra Zenda, and Chiedza Mutakiwa – allowed Mnangagwa to load the ore into three trucks, which were later intercepted by officials at the Beitbridge Border Post. It is believed that the officers acted contrary to their duties by allowing Mnangagwa to remove the exhibit from state custody.
The officers were arrested on December 31, 2022 and have since been denied bail. Bail has been opposed due to the severity of the charges and the possibility that the officers may interfere with key witnesses or disrupt public order.
The incident has raised concerns about corruption within the Zimbabwe Republic Police, and the case is being closely watched by the public and authorities. It is not yet clear what will happen to the illegally removed ore or what the outcome of the case against the police officers will be.