Three Domboshava business people bought guns from police Inspector Kudakwashe Chatikobo of Support Unit at Fairbridge in Bulawayo and his accomplice, but then complained when the firearms certificates that came with them had the wrong addresses, which led to the arrest of the two illegal police dealers.
Chatikobo is alleged to be part of a team involving Tonderai Shenje, who has since appeared in court on similar allegations.
He was not asked to plead to the charges when he appeared before magistrate Mrs Evelyn Mashavakure charged with three counts of unlawful dealing in firearms. It is alleged that in 2020, Chatikobo and Shenje approached Kennedy Tapfumaneyi Warikandwa, a business person from Domboshava, and promised to help him with a firearm for his protection since he had been previously a victim of armed robbery.
Between April and May 2020, Shenje led Mr Warikandwa to Mkuhusi Camp Depot in Harare’s upper Avenues where they met Chatikobo and the two allegedly sold him a 615 CZ pistol serial number 8302541 for US$350.
Allegations are that Chatikobo and Shenje told Mr Warikandwa to collect the firearm after the registration process was complete.
In May 2020, the two allegedly handed over the firearm and a certificate number 783358 A under CFR file number 140298Y in his name, but Mr Warikandwa later noted that the address written on the certificate was 24713 Unit B Seke, Chitungwiza, yet he stays in Domboshava.
He then approached the two, who promised to correct it when renewing the certificate.
The court heard that on September 21 last year Mr Warikandwa proceeded to the Central Firearms Registry with intention to correct the address on the firearms certificate and was told that his firearm was not properly registered.
It is also alleged that also in 2020 Shenje approached Ronald Butsu and Flavious Mavhunga, who are business partners operating as Jacana Begere in Domboshava and offered to help them get firearms for protection since their area had been hit by a spate of armed robberies targeting business people.
Between September and October 2020 Shenje took Mr Bhutsu and Mr Mavhunga to Mkuhusi Camp Depot where they met Chatikobo. The two sold a 6,35 Baby FN pistol serial number 97388 for US$230 to Mr Butsu and a 6,35 Raven pistol serial number 3223659 to Mr Mavhunga for the same price.
The two later noted that their address written on the certificate was 37 Leopold Takawira, Harare, yet they live in Domboshava.
They later went to correct their addresses and it was then established that they were not properly registered.
Under the law, people must buy a weapon from a licenced dealer, who will tell them how to apply to the police for the necessary firearms licence for the chosen firearm, or if they are buying a weapon from a private person with a valid firearms licence they will need to first approach the police for their own licence, with the seller’s valid licence so the police know which firearm is going to change hands and so long as the buyer is approved can then do all the mechanics of issuing the new licence and cancelling the old one.
The sale can only go through once the buyer is licenced.