HARARE – The case of a cop who was charged after he reportedly wrote a WhatsApp message saying national police spokesperson Charity Charamba is an “idiot” has been resuscitated and will be back in court on October 5.
Police General Headquarters-based James Mabasa, 38, is being charged with contravening the Postal and Telecommunications Act by sending the offensive message over the phone.
He is also charged with obstruction of justice after he allegedly smashed the phone he used to send the WhatsApp message.
This will be the third time the case is brought back to court since May this year after it had been removed from remand twice.
After Mabasa’s last court appearance on September 20, he was subsequently suspended from work as part of police’s administrative measures in handling the matter.
Harare magistrate Nomsa Sabarauta struck the matter of the roll last week and advised prosecutor Fransisca Mukumbiri to proceed by way of summons because the State’s star witness was not available to testify.
The complainant is Charamba in her capacity as head of press and public relations in the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
The second complainant is Pikisai Chipwazo a cop stationed at Criminal Investigations Department, Homicide, in Harare.
The State alleged that on May 15 this year detectives from CID Homicide Harare received an anonymous WhatsApp message allegedly denigrating Charamba’s office and her personality.
The message read: “The police used to hold meetings with magistrates and other law enforcement stakeholders to map a way of reducing lawlessness but now it’s the other way round. The public now has meetings with lawyers on ways to disregard the police. The public relations office is headed by an idiot who does not know that she has to encourage the public to be compliant with the police.”
Investigations were instigated and pointed to Mabasa as the author of the message and follow-ups were made leading to his arrest at PGHQ Transport department where he is attached.
When Mabasa was searched, the court heard, police recovered a Techno tablet and Astro cell phone which had messages sent on April 16 this year allegedly demeaning Charamba.
It was alleged that Mabasa was immediately arrested and taken to Harare Central Police Station.
While being interviewed in connection with the message Mabasa allegedly grabbed his Techno tablet and smashed it onto the floor resultantly damaging it.
According to State papers, Mabasa did so intending to destroy evidence linking him to the offence and was consequently charged with obstructing the course of justice. – Daily News