A 34-year-old police officer stationed at Tuli in Beitbridge District has been placed on trial for allegedly conniving with two civilians to steal 27 head of cattle from South Africa.
The cattle valued at R244 000 were sold to the Cold Storage Company in Bulawayo.
Patrick Gwete, a police officer, together with Onius Ndou (46) and Leonard Mangavha (40) all of Swereki area under Chief Stauze denied the charges when they appeared before Beitbridge resident magistrate Mr Langton Mukwengi.
They were remanded out of custody to March 20 for continuation of trial.
The trio is appearing in court on summons. Beitbridge area prosecutor Mr Johannes Tlou told the court that on August 3 last year, at around midnight, Ndou and Mangavha illegally crossed the Limpopo River into South Africa and stole 27 Bausmara breed cattle at Kongo Farm.
They then drove the herd back across the Limpopo via the Shashe area on the same day and loaded 15 of them into a hired truck (AAA 6813) after three days, along with seven they had bought at Nhwali area at a public cattle sale conducted by Gwanda Rural District Council.
He said they had bought the seven cattle on August 4.
Mr Tlou said the two then transported the cattle to Bulawayo CSC abattoir using movement of animal permits (882184P and 882185P) supported by police stock clearance forms 1970038 and 1970039 they had acquired at the public cattle sale.
The court further heard that on August 10 at around 6am the stock controller at the CSC abattoir, Timothy Nare, discovered that the number of cattle was more than those entered in the permits.
He also noted that they had varied brand marks from those on the police clearance forms.
Nare then contacted Ndou on the discrepancies and also reported the matter at Donnington Police Station.
The prosecutor said Ndou then went to CSC Bulawayo where he collected the police stock clearance form number 1970038 with permit 88214P to Nhwali police (under Tuli Police Station) base.
He then sought the assistance of Gwete, who then issued another stock clearance form with serial numbers 1970050 matching the description of the stolen cattle and their brand marks.
After which Ndou and Mangavha then contacted Constable Shoko at Donnington Police Station seeking further assistance to clear the cattle at the CSC abattoir.
Ndou and Mangavha proceeded to Bulawayo where they were arrested by police from Donnington and they implicated Gwete.
A team of police officers from Beitbridge proceeded to Bulawayo with the complainant who positively identified the 15 cattle worth R180 000 which were subsequently recovered.