Two suspected illegal money changers have been acquitted by a Bulawayo magistrate at the close of the state case after key state witnesses gave contradicting evidence which exposed massive bungling in the way the arresting details handled the case.
The two suspected money changers locally known as “Osiphatheleni” were acquitted before giving their defence evidence following some shocking inconsistent statements by the two arresting officers.
It is the state case that Mike Dlamini (21) approached Khulekani Dube (23) with the intention to exchange a 50 United States dollar note for 64 bond notes in a transaction in which Dlamini was set to benefit a 14 dollar profit from the deal at corner Herbet Chitepo and Leopold Takawira in Bulawayo.
The state further alleges that a group of four police officers who were having an operation on arresting illegal money changers witnessed the transaction leading to the arrest of the two accused persons.
The accused persons were, however, arguing that they intended to have a clean transaction where Dube wanted change for his 50 dollar note to lower denominations as he intended to board a commuter omnibus with no one set to benefit from the transaction.
However, it was the evidence led by the police officers one Constable Masiti and Constable Mazhavave that had a lot of inconsistencies which left the whole court room in confusion as it exposed the bungling of the officers in handling the case.
The officers’ inconsistent evidence eventually prompted the Public Prosecutor Mr Charles Danda to call for the court to acquit the two accused persons before they were put to their defence, saying the state had failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt as required by the country’s supreme law.
Bulawayo Provincial Magistrate Mr Franklin Mkhwananzi eventually acquitted the duo.
Several people have fallen prey to the law enforcement agents operations where innocent people are sometimes caught in the crossfire only to be released by the courts or after succumbing to pressure and paying admission of guilt fines.