HARARE – Embattled ex-top cop, Oliver Chibage, has been implicated in a car theft scandal involving a local dealer, Innocent Gumbura.
Chibage, who according to sources was forced out of the police force due to a series of dodgy dealings, allegedly shielded Gumbura from arrest and thwarted criminal proceedings against the accused.
Attempts by the Daily News yesterday to get comment from Chibage over the fresh allegations proved fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered, but on Wednesday he denied being involved in any corrupt dealings.
The Toyota Sequoia at the centre of controversy.
But well placed sources within the police force yesterday told the Daily News that Chibage played a crucial role in preventing the prosecution of Gumbura for car theft.
Omega Chatyoka, the owner of the stolen Toyota Sequoia, later took the matter to Chihuri, who ordered Gumbura’s arrest and instituted investigations against Chibage.
According to sources, Gumbura, who took advantage of the absence of Chatyoka, sold the car to Noah Taguta of the Johanne Marange Apostolic sect for a staggering $250 000.
“He (Gumbura) lied to Chatyoka that he had sold the car to a Congolese man and bought a replacement, similar to the original,” the source said.
“But he could not deliver the vehicle as he had promised because the car had been withheld at the border, forcing Chatyoka to report the matter to the police.”
According to sources, the replacement vehicle arrived late in December last year and was given to Chibage as a token of appreciation for protecting him from arrest.
In April this year, the luxurious vehicle, which Gumbura had claimed to Chatyoka that he had sold to a Congolese businesses tycoon, was spotted being driven by David Sewera together with Taguta in Harare, forcing Chatyoka to alert traffic police officers who immediately impounded it.
“The vehicle was impounded and taken to Southerton Police Station and Chibage again told the officers there to release the vehicle back to Taguta despite the fact that the car had been stolen,” a top police source told the Daily News.
“Gumbura was arrested by details from Ruwa Police Station who handed him to Harare Central Police Station, but Chibage ordered his release around 11pm, against police regulations which prohibit release of a suspect after 4 pm,” the highly-placed source said.
However, Gumbura’s luck ran out after Chatyoka reported the matter to Chihuri, demanding reasons as to why her car was returned back to Taguta despite proof that it was stolen property.
Chibage, police sources said, openly told Chatyoka in a meeting held at police general headquarters that he was responsible for the illegal release of Gumbura from police custody in the dead of night.
He also admitted that he had ordered Southerton Police Station to release the stolen vehicle back to Taguta in a bid to harvest votes for Zanu PF from of the apostolic sect ahead of the July 31 polls.
“He (Chibage) told the woman (Chatyoka) that he had been instructed to release the vehicle by Kasukuwere (Saviour), because Taguta is the president’s (Robert Mugabe) pastor,” the police source said.
Chatyoka narrated her ordeal to Chihuri in a meeting also attended by his deputy, Josephine Shambare, the deputy commissioner responsible for crime and other senior police officers.
A fellow up meeting was held in Chihuri’s boardroom by senior officers, although in the absence of Chibage, which sanctioned the impounding of the Toyota Sequoia pending the finalisation of the criminal trial of Gumbura – currently underway at Harare Magistrate Court before regional magistrate Noel Mupeiwa.