A 23-year-old male fraudster from the Nemamwa area in Masvingo who could not contend with facing the looming wrath of the course of justice after he allegedly duped unsuspecting business owners through bogus Ecocash transactions, committed suicide while detained in holding cells recently.
Reports say the deceased Promise Mberi used the pair of trousers he was wearing to tie himself on the prison cells of the rural section of Masvingo Central Police Station.
He was then found during the early hours of August 15, hanging motionlessly in the cell after his arrest a day earlier on charges of purchasing goods through fraudulent transactions using mobile money platform, Ecocash.
The suicide case puts the ancient city’s biggest police station in a tight spot after Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently signed into law the Coroner’s Office Act which makes heads of hospitals, police stations and prisons liable to jail terms of up to five years in the event that they are found guilty of tampering with vital evidence on the death of a person under their custody.
Also, in the event that they are found liable to causing the death of a detained person through negligence or recklessness, the aforementioned heads of the stations are subjected to punitive legal measures.
Quite shockingly, despite the deceased Mberi’s colleagues confirming that the accused ended his own life while in detention, police authorities have professed ignorance over the circumstances which led to the detention of the accused who was busted by plain cloth detectives for doctoring old EcoCash messages to make new purchases at Nemamwa.
“We do not have such a case here. I do not know where it is coming from,” Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Charity Mazula told the regional TellZim News.
Sources who spoke to the same publication however contend that when he was arrested, the late Mberi was in the company of his two female accomplices, Muchaneta Dengu and Monica Sariri who despite being picked up for questioning, were later released after being ordered to return for further questioning the following day.
However, when Dengu returned the following morning, on August 16, in compliance with police orders, she was shocked to hear that Mberi had prematurely ended his own life while in detention.
“It was really shocking because he never showed any suicidal thought. I was in denial so I asked to see for myself and I saw him hanging on the burglar bar window,” revealed Dengu.
“I asked the police for permission to take some pictures to show the people back home and they allowed me. I then accompanied the body to the mortuary at Masvingo Provincial Hospital,” she said.
Additional Reporting: Zwnews