The High Court has ordered the Zimbabwe Republic Police to pay US$12 000 as compensation to two Zimbabwe National Water Authority employees who were unlawfully arrested while they were disconnecting water supplies to Chirundu Police Station in 2011.
Justice Happias Zhou declared the arrest of Mr Jorum Mavhiza and Mr Wilson Tapfuma, both based at Chirundu Water Supply station, unlawful and ordered the police to pay them $6000 each for unlawfully arresting them during the legitimate discharge of their duties.
“In the result the judgment is granted in favour of the plaintiffs in the sum of US$12 000 with interest at the proscribed rate,” said Justice Zhou.
Police will also pay the legal costs of the matter.
Mr Mavhiza and Mr Tapfuma were arrested in July 2011 as they were disconnecting water supplies at Chirundu Police Station over outstanding bills.
They were also detained and later released.
The pair, which was represented by ZINWA lawyer Mr Jonas Dondo had claimed Us$50 000 in damages for wrongful arrest and detention against officers only identified as Inspector Muwambwi and Constable Bvokoto, and Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi for the July 6, 2011 incident but the court reduced the claim to US$12 000.
According to the ruling, the two would each get US$5 000 as compensation for physical discomfort and anguish and US$1 000 as damages for the offensive act committed on them.
Justice Zhou found that the concerned police officers Muwambwi and Bvokoto abused their powers in forcing the Zinwa employees to restore water supplies to the police station.
He dismissed the police’s defence that they acted on reasonable suspicion when they made the arrests.
The judge also found that the police officers had lied that Mavhiza and Tapfuma removed a water meter at Chirundu Police Station in the middle of the night without notifying the relevant authorities when, in fact, this was done during the day after several warnings for them to settle their water bill.