CCC activists were not arrested: Police

CCC activists Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri lost their bid to block the State from tendering documentary evidence that their phones were active in Harare during the time they claimed to have been abducted while a police witness on duty at the roadblock where they claimed to have been arrested said there were no arrests at all.

The two opposition activists are charged with communicating falsehoods prejudicial to the State after they allegedly faked their abductions.

Chief Magistrate Mrs Faith Mushure overruled the objection of Mamombe and Chimbiri allowing the State to tender documentary exhibits.

The defence lawyers failed to show that the phone records of the numbers owned by the two were not relevant for the State’s case.

Mrs Mushure then allowed the State to tender the documents that comprise call data records obtained from Econet and the base stations in Warren Park and Belvedere.

Prosecutor Mr Michael Reza wanted to tender the documents saying they would assist in showing that the SIM cards believed to be owned by the two opposition activists never left Harare on the day in question.

A police officer and State witness, Venenzia Muchenje, who was manning the roadblock near Exhibition Park from 2pm at the place Mamombe and Chimbiri claimed to have been arrested while on their way into the city centre from Warren Park, told the court that no one was arrested at all from 2pm when they assumed duty.

Ms Muchenje told the court that she never saw a Mercedes Benz with women on-board during the time she assumed duty at the roadblock at around 2pm. A man approached them about a few minutes after they went on duty asking whether they had arrested anyone and they told him they had not.

On the phone records, Engineer Christopher Tapera Kazembe told the court, during cross-examination by the duo’s lawyer Mr Alec Muchadehama, that the records only showed the numbers and under which base stations they were active, not the owners of numbers.

The records could only show where the phones were and could not show one way or the other what was happening around the base stations including whether the two were arrested at the roadblock, taken to police station, transferred to another vehicle driven by police, leaving all their belongings, including their vehicle and were driven to Muchapondwa Shopping Centre where they claimed to have been tortured before being dumped.

Asked to comment on whether there was a possibility that the police broke the passwords of the phones, Eng Kazembe said: “It is possible that one can broke the passwords but I am not confirming that the police broke into the cellphones.”

The matter continues today with police officer Muchenje testifying. Herald.

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