Police statements in Glen View murder could have been doctored

A police statement presented in court today over the death of a police officer in Glen View last year could have been heavily doctored in order to nail the 29 MDC members who are being falsely accused of the murder.

A police statement produced at the High Court today prepared for the State’s fifth witness, Victor Kudakwashe Magutarima stated that he knew “Tungamirai Madzokere and the 28 other accused” in connection with the murder of Inspector Petros Matedza.

However, Magutarima’s statement was prepared on 30 May 2011, a day after the death of Mutedza by a police officer at the Harare Central Law and Order Section. Magutarima is a constable with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) based at Braeside Police Station in Harare.

It was, however, pointed out to Magutarima by the defence lawyers that when his statement was completed on 30 May 2011, only five suspects had been arrested and those arrested did not include Accused No. 1, Madzokere and the other 24.

Madzokere is the councillor for Ward 32 in Glen View and was only arrested days after Magutarima’s police statement had been finished.

Other members were arrested days, weeks or months later. The 28th accused, Solomon Madzore, the MDC Youth Assembly chairperson was arrested last October while Paul Rukanda was arrested in January this year.

“Only five suspects as opposed to 29 people had been arrested. Clearly this shows that the statement could have been backdated. The last accused (Rukanda) was arrested this year,” pointed out Beatrice Mtetwa, one of the defence lawyers.

Magutarima said he did not know how the statement could have been altered although it bears his signature.

“I did not read the whole statement as I trusted the person who recorded my statement,” said Magutarima although he could not recall the name of the police officer who wrote what he was saying.

He could also not identify the people who were involved in the murder of Mutedza because he did not see the people as he was not at the exact scene of crime although he was part of the Harare Provincial Reaction Group that had been dispatched to Glen View 3 Shopping Centre.

“I cannot say any of the accused was responsible for the murder,” said Magutarima.

Earlier in the day, Solomon Mushaninga, the fourth State’s witness continued to give contradicting statements claiming in his police statement prepared last year that before he died, Mutedza had been manhandled by some people.

However, during cross examination, Mushaninga claimed that Mutedza had been hit on the chest by a “young man with uncombed long hair”.

He also claimed that he had been misquoted in his police statement prepared by Detective Inspector Henry Dhowa when he was reported saying that some people were involved in attacking Mutedza when he meant one person.

After further cross examination Mushaninga said he did not recall some of these events.

It was then pointed out to Mushaninga that his evidence was fraud, deliberate, coached and tailored to implicate the fourth accused, Last Maengahama. Maengahama is a member of the MDC National Executive.

“It was deliberate to say there were only MDC members at the scene of incident and that he (Mushaninga) saw a tall person who is the fourth accused. If he had seen the fourth accused, he should have seen a short person and in the absence of an identity parade, his evidence is fraud,” said the defence lawyers.

The trial resumes tomorrow at 10am with the State expected to call its sixth witness.

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