Diamond robbery cop set free

HARARE - Teddy Zhou, the police officer accused of robbing illegal diamond dealers in Mutare last year, has had charges against him dropped in controversial circumstances.

A secretary at Sakupwanya and Partners, the lawyers representing Zhou, confirmed that the police chief inspector had appeared in court on January 15, where the charges were formally withdrawn. She declined to give more information, referring questions to the firm’s senior partner, who was unavailable for comment. However, Zhou’s co-accused, Harare businessman Galvin Hamandishe, told this paper that a deal had been struck with the complainants, who agreed on January 12 not to pursue the matter.

The charges against Zhou were that some time last year, he was tipped off by Hamandishe about the existence of diamonds at a house in Mutare. Hamandishe had fallen out with the illegal diamond dealers over a car deal. A raid was conducted at the Mutare house and diamonds were recovered. Zhou then struck a deal with the dealers, granting them freedom while pocketing the diamonds which he sold in Harare for US$10 000 and shared the money with four others.

The diamond dealers later reported that they had been robbed by Zhou, leading to his arrest. However, sources claimed that the dealers had been threatened with arrest if they pursued the matter. Some of them stopped coming to court.

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